Built in little over a week, a hospital dedicated to treating people infected with a deadly new coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan began receiving patients on Monday, state media said.
The 1 000-bed facility was designed for patients with confirmed infections to ease a shortage of beds elsewhere in Wuhan, where the rapidly-spreading virus is thought to have originated late last year.
More than 7 500 labourers worked around the clock to construct Huoshenshan Hospital, which was modelled on a facility set up in China’s capital, Beijing, in 2003 to help tackle an outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.
The new coronavirus has so far killed at least 361 people and infected more than 17 000 in China and at least 171 overseas. In Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, there are more than 11 000 cases, state television said on Monday.
The virus has since spread to more than 24 countries, despite many governments imposing unprecedented travel bans on people coming from China.
Also, the virus is having an increasingly heavy economic impact, shutting down businesses across China, curbing international travel and impacting production lines of major international brands.
Stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen plunged by nearly 9% on Monday morning as investors returned from a Lunar New Year holiday that had been extended to stop people travelling around China.
Hundreds of firms tumbled by the maximum 10% as investors got their first chance in more than a week to react to a barrage of bad news from the spiralling outbreak.