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China building 1,000-bed hospital over the weekend to treat coronavirus – The London Free Press

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BEIJING — The Chinese city of Wuhan is rapidly building a new 1,000-bed hospital to treat victims of a new coronavirus, mobilizing machinery to get it ready by early next week, state media said.

The virus has killed 25 people in China and infected more than 800, the government said on Friday, as the World Health Organisation declared it an emergency but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.

Most of the cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated late last year.

The new hospital is being built around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city, the official Changjiang Daily reported on Friday. Prefabricated buildings which will have 1,000 beds will be put up, it said.

Building machinery, including 35 diggers and 10 bulldozers, arrived at the site on Thursday night, with the aim to get the new facility ready by Monday, the paper added.

“The construction of this project is to solve the shortage of existing medical resources” the report said. “Because it will be prefabricated buildings, it will not only be built fast but it also won’t cost much.”

China State Construction Engineering, one of the companies building the hospital, said on Friday it was “doing all it can and would overcome difficulties” to play its part, adding it now had more than 100 workers on the site.

It showed a picture on its WeChat account of diggers working at night to prepare the site, and another during the day of around a dozen people hard at work in a field of tall grass.

The hospital aims to copy the experience of Beijing in 2003, when the city battled Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As many as 774 people died in the SARS epidemic, which reached nearly 30 countries.

At the time, Beijing built the Xiaotangshan hospital in its northern suburbs in just a week. Within two months, it treated one-seventh of all the country’s SARS patients, the Changjiang Daily said.

“It created a miracle in the history of medical science,” the paper added.

The Beijing hospital, built by 7,000 workers, was originally designed only to take people who were in recovery from SARS to relieve pressure on other hospitals.

In the end it treated nearly 700 SARS patients. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Some Carriers Might Show No Symptoms, Researchers Say – The New York Times

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The outbreak of a dangerous respiratory virus in China is putting a strain on hospital staff and medical resources.CreditCredit…The Central Hospital of Wuhan, via Reuters

The medical journal The Lancet published a study on Friday suggesting that people infected with the new coronavirus might be able to spread it even if they do not have flu symptoms.

Researchers studied a family of seven in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, five of whom had traveled to Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. Two of them came into contact with an infected relative in a hospital there. Testing conducted days later, after they flew home, found that six members of the family had the coronavirus, including one who had not gone to Wuhan.

One infected family member, a child, had no symptoms, suggesting that people with the virus might be spreading it without knowing that they have it, the study found.

“It shows this new coronavirus is able to transfer between person to person, in a hospital setting, a family home setting, and also in an inter-city setting,” Yuen Kwok-yung, an author of the study, said in an interview. “This is exactly what makes this new disease difficult to control.” Dr. Yuen characterized the disease as “asymptomatic walking pneumonia.”

The researchers cautioned that the study was limited to early cases of the virus, and that it was difficult to assess risk factors at this stage. But they stressed the importance of quarantining patients as early as possible, given the early signs of asymptomatic transmission.

Another study in The Lancet found that symptoms of early coronavirus cases showed similarities to SARS, the respiratory disease that killed nearly 800 people worldwide in an outbreak that began in China in 2002. Those symptoms included fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

Fifteen more people have died in the city of Wuhan, the capital of the Chinese province of Hubei and the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, the provincial health authorities said.

The new figures, announced early Saturday, represented a nearly 60 percent jump from the previous death toll of 26.

Just three of the 41 deaths reported over all have taken place outside of Wuhan: one in another city in Hubei Province, one in Hebei Province, and one in Heilongjiang, near the Russian border.

The new victims ranged from 55 to 87 years old. Eleven were male, and four female.

Nationwide, more than 400 new cases of the virus were diagnosed, officials said early Saturday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in China to nearly 1,300.

All of the reported deaths have been in China, but travelers have spread the virus to numerous other countries. Cases have been confirmed in Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, France and the United States.

A construction site for a field hospital being built to treat patients with the new coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on Friday.
Credit…Chinatopix, via Associated Press

A fleet of earth movers tore into the soil. Workers and trucks swarmed around the site.

Under pressure to show an emphatic response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese authorities have begun building a hospital in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. They hope to complete it in 10 days.

The Wuhan government on Friday said it was building the temporary Huoshenshan Hospital to treat patients with the previously unknown virus that has sickened hundreds in the city. The hospital will have space for 1,000 beds and is expected to be completed by Feb. 3, according to a local media report posted to the Wuhan government’s website.

The authorities met on Thursday evening to come up with a plan and a design for the makeshift hospital, which is modeled after a facility built by the government of Beijing in 2003 during the SARS outbreak.

The authorities dispatched 35 backhoes, 10 bulldozers and eight road rollers to a 270,000- square-foot plot in Wuhan’s Caidian district, the report said. The land sits on the northwestern bank of the Yangtze River, it said.

The Communist Party long ago realized that its authoritarian rule over China came with trade-offs. In times of disaster, for example, the government could quickly be blamed for causing the problem or responding slowly.

As some people online question the government’s response to the deadly outbreak, building a hospital in less than two weeks could serve as a symbol of Beijing’s commitment to address the outbreak head-on.

For people in the United States with close ties to China, the outbreak has brought unexpected worry, disappointment and scrutiny. Some in the Chinese-American community have had their Lunar New Year holiday plans waylaid, as travel schedules for the coming week and beyond get interrupted.

Some are gearing up for the outbreak to get worse. Hardware stores and pharmacies around the United States are selling out of masks that could help prevent the spread of the disease. In the New York City neighborhood of Flushing, masks have been sold out for much of the week.

Chinese-Americans networking with their friends and family in China have scrambled to send aid. One woman in Los Angeles has amassed 20,000 masks to ship overseas.

Sean Shi, of Issaquah, Wash., said he shipped several boxes of masks to China in a friend’s luggage, with hopes that the masks could reach friends in the Wuhan area as soon as possible. Later in the day, Mr. Shi was back at a local hardware store, buying another 46 masks for some of his former peers at Wuhan University.

“We understand it’s a tough situation over there — the panic, the shortage of equipment,” Mr. Shi said. “We just realized the situation is very serious — more serious than we thought.”

Reporting was contributed by Tiffany May, Vivian Wang, Chris Buckley, Rick Gladstone, Mike Baker and Jeffrey E. Singer. Research was contributed by Yiwei Wang.

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China coronavirus Death toll rises

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Health officials in China say a coronavirus has killed 15 more people in the province of Hubei, where the outbreak first started.

There are currently 1,287 confirmed cases in China, 41 of whom have died.

It comes as China is begins celebrations of the Lunar New Year, one of the most important dates in its calendar.

Many events have been cancelled and a new hospital is being built in the city of Wuhan.

The virus has now spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France.

The first case was in Bordeaux, while the other two were in the Paris area, the French health minister said on Friday night.

And one case has been confirmed in Australia.

Chinese media outlets said the new 1,000-bed hospital could be ready within six days. A total of 35 diggers and 10 bulldozers are currently working on the site.

The project will “solve the shortage of existing medical resources” and would be “built fast [and] not cost much… because it will be prefabricated buildings”, the Changjiang Daily said.

Pharmacies in Wuhan have begun to run out of supplies and hospitals have been filled with nervous members of the public.

Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, leads to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.

Around one-in-four cases are thought to be severe.

What restrictions are in place in Hubei?

Travel restrictions vary from city to city.

Wuhan is effectively on lockdown: all bus, metro and ferry services have been suspended, and all outbound planes and trains cancelled.

Residents have been advised not to leave, and roadblocks have been reported.

Ezhou, a smaller city in Hubei, shut its railway station. The city of Enshi has suspended all bus services.

And the rest of China?

City officials in the capital, Beijing, and Shanghai have asked residents who return from affected areas to stay at home for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus, local media report.

  • Have you been affected? Get in touch: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

Authorities have also shut major tourist sites including the Forbidden City in Beijing and a section of the Great Wall, and cancelled major public events in other parts of the country, including:

  • Traditional temple fairs in Beijing
  • An international carnival in Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong’s annual football tournament
  • All public Lunar New Year celebrations in Macau

Shanghai’s Disney Resort is temporarily closing, as are McDonald’s restaurants in five cities.

On Thursday, a coronavirus patient died in northern Hebei province – making it the first death outside Hubei.

Another death was later confirmed in north-east Heilongjiang province, more than 2,000km (1,200 miles) from Wuhan.

Earlier, when the death toll was 17, information from China’s National Health Commission said the youngest person who died from the virus was 48 and the oldest was 89.

But 15 of the 17 were over 60, and more than half suffered from other chronic diseases including Parkinson’s and diabetes. Just four were women.

What’s the global situation?

French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said one of the French cases, a 48-year-old man of Chinese origin who had been visiting Wuhan, had been hospitalised in Bordeaux. Little was known about the second case, in hospital in Paris, except that the patient had been travelling in China.

It was likely other cases would occur in Europe, Ms Buzyn added.

She confirmed a third case, in Paris, later on Friday evening.

On Saturday, Australia reported its first case, a patient who is in hospital in Melbourne, after arriving from China last weekend.

Earlier on Friday a case was confirmed in Chicago, the second in the US.

Singapore confirmed its third case, known to be the son of another patient, also on Friday. Nepal recorded its first case on the same day.

Thailand has five cases confirmed; Japan, Vietnam and South Korea two each; and one in Taiwan.

Other nations are investigating suspected cases, including the UK, US, and Canada.

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The World Health Organization has not classed the virus as an “international emergency”, partly because of the low number of overseas cases.

“It may yet become one,” said the WHO’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


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Federal Government Increasing Measures to Monitor Wuhan Novel Coronavirus Risks at Canadian Airports, Including Pearson – Government of Ontario News

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TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and co-chair of the federal-provincial-territorial health table, released the following statement on Ontario’s preparedness for the Wuhan novel coronavirus following a joint call with her federal and provincial counterparts:

“While there remain no confirmed cases of the virus in Canada, the federal government is putting in place enhanced screening and detection measures at Toronto Pearson International Airport to further protect the health of the public from the Wuhan novel coronavirus.

Today, I joined Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health for Canada, and my ministerial colleagues from each of the provinces and territories to share important information and further coordinate our joint efforts to protect the health and well being of all Canadians, including Ontarians, from the emerging issues of the Wuhan novel coronavirus. The federal government outlined their enhanced measures, which now include:

  • Screening questions at border kiosks will now include questions about previous travel to Wuhan, China in the past 14 days. A positive response would trigger an enhanced screening process, including sending the traveller to a Canadian border agent for further questioning about their health status. The border agent will determine whether the traveller needs to seek immediate medical assessment and treatment and, if so, EMS will transport the traveller from the airport directly to hospital. This screening will be done in Vancouver and Montreal as well.
  • Fact sheets are also being developed in English, French and Chinese for people who have travelled to China and are not currently exhibiting signs of illness. These fact sheets will outline the symptoms that individuals should watch for and any next steps should they experience symptoms, including seeking an immediate medical assessment.

The federal government’s enhanced screening measures build on Ontario’s robust and comprehensive protocols in place to actively monitor for, detect and contain any suspected cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus. The federal government’s measures will further support my ministry, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, local health units, hospitals and health care providers, to monitor the Wuhan novel coronavirus and contain any cases, should one present in Ontario.

While the risk to Ontarians remains low, we will continue to be in close contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other jurisdictions to monitor this developing situation and safeguard the health of all Ontarians.

I’d like to thank all our partners for their on-going efforts in responding to this emerging situation. I want to reiterate our top priority will always remain safeguarding the health of the public, patients and care providers.”

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