The coronavirus outbreak has brought fear to China and many parts of the world as thousands have been infected and 170 people have died from the disease to date. To deal with these worrying numbers, the first dedicated coronavirus hospital has been opened in China after only 48 hours of construction.

The Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre in Huanggang, near Wuhan where the outbreak began, was completed within just two days thanks to the hard work of about 500 workers and volunteers. The hospital features 1 000 beds, some of which already have patients as they were transferred last night. The hospital was built in an pre-existing structure and converted into a fully equipped facility to handle the virus in record time.

Two more dedicated hospitals are in the process of being created from scratch in Wuhan, and are expected to be completed within a week. Huoshenshan Hospital will house 1 000 beds and 269,000 sq. ft and is expected to open on February 2, and Leishenshan Hospital’s 323,000-sq. ft, 1 300-bed facility will open two days later.

A reported 7,711 people worldwide are currently diagnosed with coronavirus. While the vast majority of cases come from within China, reports have also come from Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Macau, France, South Korea, Germany, India, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Finland.

Foreign citizens in Wuhan, the origin city of the disease, have been evacuated and the city is now on lockdown.

The World Health Organisation has advised all governments to be on high alert. While no cases of the coronavirus have yet been detected in South Africa, Tygerberg Hospital has been demarcated as the official reception centre should any cases of the fatal virus be discovered in the Western Cape.

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