China shuts down largest makeshift hospital in Wuhan

Beijing/Wuhan, April 15

With the number of coronavirus cases sharply falling, China on Wednesday shutdown one of its largest makeshift field hospitals built in just 10 days to treat the surging COVID-19 infections in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic.

Thousands of medical workers deployed in the capital of central Hubei province from across the nation also left Wuhan after completing their mission, the official media reported.

Six crucial days that made a deadly difference

  • In the six days after Chinese officials secretly determined they likely were facing a pandemic from Covid-19, Wuhan hosted a mass banquet for thousands of people for Lunar New Year celebrations.

  • President Xi Jinping warned the public on the seventh day, Janaury 20. But by that time, more than 3,000 people had been infected during almost a week of public silence.

The makeshift Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) Hospital ceased operation in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, on Wednesday as the coronavirus epidemic wanes, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

It was one of the two over a 1,000-bed capacity hospitals built in 10 days in February to treat the COVID-19 patients amid a glare of national and international publicity to curb the virus.

Besides the two hospitals, China also built 14 additional makeshift health centres to quarantine and treat the COVID-19 patients. All of them were closed down recently. Also, the last group of medical workers sent to Hubei to fight the outbreak also left Wuhan, state-run China Daily reported on Wednesday.

China deployed 42,000 medical personnel in Hubei to deal with the outbreak which was first reported in Wuhan, the provincial capital.

The government began serious action to curb the outbreak by imposing the lockdown in Wuhan from January 23. The lockdown was lifted on April 8.

Over 3,000 medical workers were reported to have been infected with the virus. The hospital was closed as no new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease were reported in the province on Tuesday.

The province, however, reported one death, bringing the total number of fatalities caused by COVID-19 to 3,222 in Hubei.

The provincial health commission said that 32 asymptomatic cases were reported on Tuesday in Hubei, taking the total number to 619. All are under medical observation.

Asymptomatic cases are those where people test positive for the virus but develop no symptoms such as fever, cough or sore throat. They are infectious and pose a risk of spreading the disease to others.

However, increasing number of local transmissions in the country’s northeast bordering Russia remained a concern for the authorities following the return of Chinese nationals from there.

Health experts said that the Suifenhe city at the China-Russia border might become another Wuhan amid sharp increase of COVID-19 cases following an exodus of Chinese nationals from Russia. mdash; PTI