Commentary: 2 in 2 weeks -- Hospital building speed matters in China's virus battle-Xinhua

Commentary: 2 in 2 weeks -- Hospital building speed matters in China's virus battle

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2020-02-06 22:54:13

BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- China has finished a "mission impossible" in terms of infectious disease control by building two hospitals from scratch in about two weeks.

The delivery of the 1,600-bed Leishenshan Hospital began on Thursday. It will soon join the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital to treat patients in the current novel coronavirus outbreak at its epicenter Wuhan in central China.

Speed matters as the virus is spreading. Wuhan alone had a cumulative 10,117 confirmed cases as of Wednesday.

The sheer number of patients requiring quarantine and intensive care would overwhelm the healthcare system of any city in the world if such a highly contagious disease broke out.

These two specialized hospitals, run by professionals including military medics who have experience fighting SARS and Ebola, will allow more patients to be taken good care of at an early date.

This speed is therefore a testament to the country's seriousness in putting people's lives and health as the top priority.

Already, Wuhan's 28 designated hospitals for virus-infected patients can provide over 8,250 beds. The new hospitals will help fill the gap.

Authorities are also racing against time to add another 10,000 hospital beds by converting some of Wuhan's gymnasiums and sports centers into temporary hospitals to attend to people with mild symptoms.

Speed demonstrates China's strength in mobilizing on a large scale.

Fang Xiang, a project manager who took part in building Huoshenshan Hospital, said a construction project of this size normally takes two years to finish. "It will take at least one month to build a pre-fab structure in emergencies, let alone an infectious disease hospital from scratch," he said.

But when the construction order was issued in late January, thousands of construction workers were called in. Machinery and supplies were sent from across the country. After working non-stop day and night, they finally pulled it off.

"I have never seen, in my life, this kind of mobilization," said World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

This ability to "concentrate resources to solve major problems," as Chinese often describe it, is a notable advantage of China's socialist system that has helped the country overcome major challenges over the past decades. The novel coronavirus will be no exception.

Such a speed gives the Chinese people more confidence in winning the battle against the epidemic.

Over the past two weeks, tens of millions of people tuned in to watch around-the-clock live-streaming of the construction progress of the two hospitals, expressing hope and confidence over the fight against the epidemic.

The leadership has vowed to broadly mobilize, organize and unite the people in joint prevention and control to fortify a strong defense by mass participation.

With the Chinese people taking part in the concerted efforts, bringing the country's systemic advantages into full play, there is no doubt that China will defeat the epidemic.