By Tracy You and Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 10:45 GMT, 29 January 2020 | Updated: 00:01 GMT, 30 January 2020
Workers in the Chinese city of Wuhan are busy building its second coronavirus hospital as the country desperately tries to contain the accelerating outbreak after the death roll soared to 170.
Amazing time-lapse footage shows heavy-duty vehicles working in full gear to construct the Leishenshan Hospital, which is one of the four such facilities planned nationwide and expected to open in a week.
The drone video emerged after China’s first coronavirus hospital yesterday started to treat patients in Huanggang following just two days of building works.
Trending footage released by Chinese state media People’s Daily shows construction works in full swing on the site of Leishenshan Hospital, the second coronavirus hospitals in Wuhan, China, on January 28. Beijing has sent more than 6,000 medical workers to the province of Hubei in central China to help fight the lethal virus, which has killed at least 170 people
The second hospital in Wuhan, named the Leishanshan or Thunder God Mountain Hospital, is situated in Jiangxia District, a suburban area to the south of the city centre. In the picture above, construction machinery sits at the site of the second temporary hospital on January 26. Construction started on Saturday and the hospital is set to have two buildings
Around 2,000 medical workers are expected to treat patients in the dedicated 14-acre, 1,600-bed centre, which is the second of its kind in Wuhan, the ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak in China. In the picture above, an engineering contractor walks in front of construction machinery on the construction site of the Leishenshan Hospital on January 26
The second institution is named the Thunder God Mountain Hospital because Chinese people believe the God of Thunder is the God who punishes the God of Evil, signifying that the locals wish the ‘evil’ coronavirus to be controlled as soon as possible
The names of both hospitals in Wuhan are inspired by the Chinese mythology.
The first facility is named the Fire God Mountain Hospital because according to legend, fire can counteract gold, which is one of the five elements in traditional Chinese medicine that represents a person’s lungs – indicating the coronavirus which mainly infects one’s respiratory system.
The second institution is named the Thunder God Mountain Hospital because Chinese people believe the God of Thunder is the God who punishes the God of Evil, signifying that the locals hope the ‘evil’ coronavirus can be subdued as soon as possible.
Beijing has sent more than 6,000 medical workers, including military doctors, to the province of Hubei in central China to help fight the lethal virus, which has infected more than 7,100 worldwide and spread to 18 other countries and regions.
Authorities from two provinces, Hubei and neighbouring Henan, have ordered at least four emergency medical centres to be constructed in no longer than 10 days in a bid to stop the epidemic.
The 50-second clip of the construction site of Wuhan’s Leishenshan Hospital was shared today by People’s Daily Online on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.
The medical centre, also known as the Thunder God Mountain Hospital, is situated in Jiangxia District, a suburban area to the south of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged late last month.
The facility will occupy about 60,000 square metres (14 acres), including 51,000 square metres (12 acres) of quarantine units and 9,000 square metres (2.2 acres) of dormitories to house around 2,000 medical workers, a spokesperson from China Construction Third Engineering Bureau told Xinhua News Agency.
The hospital was originally designed to have 1,300 beds, but the the government of Wuhan has decided to have 300 extra beds installed after the outbreak accelerated in recent days.
The Chinese city ravaged by a deadly new virus has vowed to build two hospitals in less than a week to fight an outbreak that has infected at least 7,100 people worldwide. In the picture above, mechanical equipment are seen working on the construction site of the coronavirus hospital in the Caidian District in the western suburb of Wuhan, China, on January 24
China is building at least four coronavirus hospitals in a bid to curb the spread of the disease. China’s President Xi Jinping has ordered his two-million-strong army to shoulder their responsibilities and fight the ‘war’ that is the coronavirus outbreak
Two of the urgent projects are in Wuhan, one in nearby Huanggang and one in Zhenzhou. All are modelled on a temporary hospital in Beijing in 2003, which was built in seven days to tackle SARS and treated one-seventh of the country’s patients
Building works officially started on Sunday and as of noon today, a third of the project has been complete, the same report said.
The first coronavirus hospital to be built in Wuhan is the Huoshenshan or Fire God Mountain Hospital, which is situated in Caidian District in the western suburbs of the city.
The city’s officials instructed four construction companies last Friday to toil through the Chinese New Year holiday in order to complete the six-acre, 1,000-bed institution in the space of seven days.
The Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre is the first dedicated coronavirus hospital to have opened in China. Workers spent two days revamping an empty building and turning it into a 1,000-bed hospital in the city of 7.5million people
A picture released by the Huanggang government shows construction workers installing necessary facilities on the site of the Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre on January 25. The patients were transferred to there at around 10:30pm Tuesday
The infection has spread to at least 18 countries or regions outside of China, including the US, Canada, France and Germany
Medical workers are pictured treating a severely ill coronavirus patient in Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan on January 28
What is this virus?
The virus has been identified as a new type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens, most of which cause mild lung infections such as the common cold.
But coronaviruses can also be deadly. SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus and killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in the early 2000s.
Can the Wuhan coronavirus kill?
Yes – 170 people have so far died after testing positive for the virus.
What are the symptoms?
Some people who catch the Wuhan coronavirus may not have any symptoms at all, or only very mild ones like a sore throat or a headache.
Others may suffer from a fever, cough or trouble breathing.
And a small proportion of patients will go on to develop severe infection which can damage the lungs or cause pneumonia, a life-threatening condition which causes swelling and fluid build-up in the lungs.
How is it detected?
The virus’s genetic sequencing was released by scientists in China and countries around the world have used this to create lab tests, which must be carried out to confirm an infection.
Delays to these tests, to test results and to people getting to hospitals in China, mean the number of confirmed cases is expected to be just a fraction of the true scale of the outbreak.
How did it start and spread?
The first cases identified were among people connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.
Cases have since been identified around China and are known to have spread from person to person.
What are countries doing to prevent the spread?
Countries in Asia have stepped up airport surveillance. They include Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.
Australia and the US are also screening patients for a high temperature, and the UK announced it will screen passengers returning from Wuhan.
Is it similar to anything we’ve ever seen before?
Experts have compared it to the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
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According to a previous report from CCTV, the Huoshenshan hospital was due to comprise a number of temporary buildings, but the officials were still deciding whether they would use pre-fabricated components to be assembled onsite or wards converted from shipping containers.
The Huoshenshan Hospital is expected to open on February 2 while the Leishenshan Hospital is due to receive patients on February 5. Both will be run by military medics.
China’s President Xi Jinping today ordered his two-million-strong army to shoulder their responsibilities given by the people and fight the ‘war’ that is the coronavirus outbreak.
Another hospital is being built in Zhenzhou in central China’s Henan Province, which borders Hubei. Workers started renovating an old hospital branch on Monday and the project is expected to finish within 10 days.
All of them are modelled on a temporary medical centre in Beijing in 2003, which was built in seven days to tackle SARS and treated one-seventh of the country’s SARS patients in the space of two months.
China’s first coronavirus hospital opened in Huanggang yesterday after workers and volunteers spent just two days converting an empty building to a 1,000-bed emergency facility.
The first batch of coronavirus patients were transferred to the Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre in Huanggang at around 10:30pm local time Tuesday.
More than 7,000 people around the world are now confirmed to have been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus and 170 have died in China.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the latest country to declare cases – an unknown number among a family travelling from China – and Germany has now diagnosed four people with the infection.
Germany also yesterday revealed it had hosted the first human-to-human transmission in Europe, between a German man and a woman travelling from China.
The latest developments in the Wuhan coronavirus crisis include:
The hospital building in the city’s Huangzhou District was originally built as a new branch of Huanggang Central Hospital and expected to open in May.
But on Friday, the local authority ordered the complete but empty building to be used for treating coronavirus patients only and began preparations on Saturday.
By Monday, all of the beds had been set up by volunteers and water, electricity and internet had also been installed, according to the government of Huanggang.
More than 500 workers and a dozen heavy vehicles worked two days and nights in order to complete the task on time.
Situated 47 miles (75 km) south-west of Wuhan, Huanggang has a population of around 7.5million and is one of the cities hit hardest by coronavirus.
It went into lockdown last Thursday, the same day as Wuhan, and has seen at least 213 confirmed cases and four deaths.
Much of the Hubei province, which contains both of the cities, now has no public transport and limited road traffic.
Anyone from the province who does manage to leave is likely to be turned away or quarantined at their destination – many, such as Hong Kong, are banning visitors from Wuhan, while the UK has told anyone travelling out of the area to isolate themselves at home.
Governments around the world are taking drastic measures as fears of international spread continue to grow.
The hospital in Huanggang was complete within 48 hours thanks to the joint effort of staff and volunteers from construction firms, utility companies and paramilitary police officers, the authority of Huanggang said. The facility opened last night
A handout image from the Huanggang government shows workers from the city’s electricity company working to connect the building to the grid so it can treat coronavirus patients. More than 6,000 people worldwide are now diagnosed with the virus
Yesterday it was revealed that patients in Germany, Japan and Vietnam had all contracted the coronavirus without even travelling to China.
This added a new dimension to the outbreak’s danger because the third-hand spread – catching it from someone else who had been to China – had not been proven.
The development means everyone who has been in contact with someone who has travelled to China’s Hubei province could be at risk, rather than just the travellers themselves.
All of the coronavirus hospitals are modelled on a temporary medical centre, which was built in Beijing in seven days to tackle SARS in 2003 and treated one-seventh of the country’s SARS patient in the space of two months. In the picture above, dozens of diggers work to build the six-acre coronavirus hospital in the Caidian District in the western suburb of Wuhan, China
If the person-to-person spread continues this could extend to people who only met the person who met the traveller, and so on, widening the web of potential infection.
The first German patient, a man who caught the coronavirus from a woman who travelled from Shanghai after visiting relatives from Wuhan, was last night confirmed to have infected a further three people, bringing Germany’s total to four.
They became ill in spite of a third-degree separation from Wuhan. The Chinese woman had not even known she was ill until she was on the flight home.
The number of people confirmed to have been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus has skyrocketed over the past week.
It was just 308 confirmed cases on six deaths on January 21, but has now, by January 29, risen to a total of 6,168 cases and 133 deaths. By Thursday death rose to 170 with over 7,000 people infected.
Experts caution this doesn’t necessarily mean the spread of the disease is speeding up, but that medical workers are catching up with a backlog of cases or more people are visiting doctors.
Someone who is infected with the Wuhan coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.
At least 170 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 7,000 have been infected in at least 18 countries and regions. But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be 100,000, or even as high as 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases. Here’s what we know so far:
What is the Wuhan coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.
The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It is currently named 2019-nCoV, and does not have a more detailed name because so little is known about it.
Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.
‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).
‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’
The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started seeing infections on December 31.
By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.
The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.
Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died.
By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.
By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000.
Where does the virus come from?
Nobody knows for sure. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.
The first cases of the virus in Wuhan came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed down for investigation.
Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.
Bats are a prime suspect – researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a recent statement: ‘The Wuhan coronavirus’ natural host could be bats… but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate.’
And another scientific journal article has suggested the virus first infected snakes, which may then have transmitted it to people at the market in Wuhan.
Peking University researchers analysed the genes of the coronavirus and said they most closely matched viruses which are known to affect snakes. They said: ‘Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV,’ in the Journal of Medical Virology.
So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it?
Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.
It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs.
Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.
Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.
‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’
If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die.
‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.
‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’
How does the virus spread?
The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.
It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky.
Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person.
There is now evidence that it can spread third hand – to someone from a person who caught it from another person.
What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?
Once someone has caught the virus it may take between two and 14 days for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.
If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients – at least 97 per cent, based on available data – will recover from these without any issues or medical help.
In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.
What have genetic tests revealed about the virus?
Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world.
This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.
Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.
However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, yesterday said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.
This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.
More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.
How dangerous is the virus?
The virus has so far killed 170 people out of a total of at least 7,000 officially confirmed cases – a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.
However, experts say the true number of patients is likely considerably higher and therefore the death rate considerably lower. Imperial College London researchers estimate that there were 4,000 (up to 9,700) cases in Wuhan city alone up to January 18 – officially there were only 444 there to date. If cases are in fact 100 times more common than the official figures, the virus may be far less dangerous than currently believed.
Experts say it is likely only the most seriously ill patients are seeking help and are therefore recorded – the vast majority will have only mild, cold-like symptoms. For those whose conditions do become more severe, there is a risk of developing pneumonia which can destroy the lungs and kill you.
Can the virus be cured?
The Wuhan coronavirus cannot currently be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.
Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.
No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.
The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.
Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.
People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.
And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).
However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.
Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?
The outbreak has not officially been confirmed as either an epidemic or a pandemic yet. This is likely because, despite the global concern, the number of people who have been confirmed to be infected is still relatively low.
A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’.
An epidemic is when a disease takes hold of a smaller community, such as a single country, region or continent.
Time-lapse footage shows Wuhan building its second coronavirus hospital with 1,600 beds
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