China builds hospital in 5 days after increase in virus cases


China has built a 1,500-room hospital for COVID-19 patients, making it difficult for the government to cope with infections.

BEIJING – China on Saturday built a 1,500-room hospital for COVID-19 patients, with the government saying the infection is harder to prevent and that it is blamed on infected people or goods from abroad.

The Xinhua News Agency said the hospital is one of 6,500 rooms being built in Nangong, south of Beijing, Hebei Province.

Xinhua said a total of 645 people are being treated in Nangong and Hebei provincial capital Shijiazhuang. A 3,000-room hospital is under construction in Shijiazhuang.

Clusters of the virus have also been found in Beijing and the provinces of Heilongjiang and Liaoning in the north-east and Sichuan in the southwest.

The latest infection spreads unusually quickly, the National Health Commission said.

“It is difficult to handle,” the commission said in a statement. “Community transmission has already occurred when there is an epidemic, so it is difficult to stop.”

The commission blamed the latest cases on goods coming from people or from abroad. It blamed “abnormal management” and “inadequate protection of workers”, who were involved in imports, but gave no details.

“They are all imported from abroad. This was caused by entry personnel or contaminated cold chain imported goods.

Also on Saturday, Beijing’s city government said passengers arriving in the Chinese capital from abroad would undergo an additional week of “medical monitoring” after 14 days of quarantine, but gave no details.

Nationwide, the Health Commission reported 130 new confirmed cases in 24 hours through midnight Friday. It said that 90 of them were in Hebei.

On Saturday, the Hebei government reported 32 additional cases since midnight, the Shanghai news outlet The Paper reported.

On Saturday, in Shijiazhuang, officials have completed construction of 1,000 rooms of the planned hospital. Xinhua said all facilities are to be completed within a week.

A similar program of rapid hospital construction was launched by the ruling Communist Party at the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan last year.

More than 10 million people underwent virus testing in XinhuaZhuang until late Friday, citing deputy mayor Meng Xiangong. It said that 247 locally transmitted cases were found.

Meanwhile, researchers sent by the World Health Organization were preparing to investigate the virus’s origins in Wuhan. The team that arrived on Thursday was under two weeks of quarantine, but was due to speak with Chinese experts via video link.

The team’s arrival continued with months of diplomatic wrangling that led to a rare public complaint by the WHO chief.

That delay, and secretly ruling party orders for scientists not to speak publicly about the disease, has raised questions about whether Beijing could try to block the searches that would make a leader in the anti-virus fight As will hurt his self-proclaimed status.

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