How is Wuhan, China fighting with coronavirus in terms of medical infrastructure?

Published on 13 February 2020 Read 25 min

The world is shocked by the fast spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 [1], which has drawn great attention on a worldwide scope. Once again, the established healthcare systems are not prepared to cope with such an epidemic.  As a Chinese living in Europe, I have been through a special time with mixed feelings. On the one hand, because of the high epidemic characteristics of the novel coronavirus, I observe heart-breaking news as fast-increasing diagnosed patients’ numbers and people’s fear about the virus inside and outside China. On the other hand, I am sincerely touched by the Chinese authorities’ efficient medical infrastructure construction management and the support of the people in China and around the world. Wuhan, the location most affected by the disease, has 16902 diagnosed cases with a reported 1046 cured and 681 deceased patients [2]. This fast spread resulted in hospital capacities being exceeded quickly in the strongly affected city of Wuhan. Yet, the government was able to react and put in place an ambitious medical infrastructure construction plan, especially with the HuoShenShan hospital.

The new Wuhan HuoShenShan hospital: a 10-day challenge to tackle the coronavirus crisis

To handle this high epidemic disease spreading, the Chinese government has taken on the challenge of building the new Wuhan HuoShenShan hospital in only 10 days to centralize patient management and reduce the risk of cross-infection. Putting sufficient medical resources into largely affected locations has been one of the main focuses of the Chinese government. With this in mind, the HuoShenShan hospital was built to cope with the crisis and thus de-stress the large treatment needed in Wuhan.

The total construction area is over 30,000 square meters with a 2000 box-board room set up. Usually, the ordinary process for a 30,000 square meters project takes at least 2 years. In Wuhan, at its peak, there were more than 7,000 workers on the construction site, and more than 800 excavators, bulldozers and other equipment operating simultaneously. Wuhan HuoShenShan Hospital was officially handed over to the medical team for management on February 2nd . The next day, on February 3rd , patients were already accepted. Impressively, the hospital construction took only 10 days from design to completion.

Reducing the risk of cross-infection: the main concern of HuoShenShan hospital

The influence of Wuhan HuoShenShan Hospital does not only release the pressure on existing Wuhan’s medical services. It also decreases cross-infections and reduces the general anxiety of the population. The hospital has taken the success experience and adjusted improvement points from the SARS XiaoTangShan hospital:

Safety partitions. The clean zones, semi-polluted zones, polluted zones, and dedicated channels for medical personnel and patients are strictly isolated to avoid cross-infection.

Airflow protection. Each ward has two beds with a separate toilet. Most of the rooms are negative pressure rooms, which means their pressure is lower than the one on the outside. This prevents cross-infection of the virus via the airflow.

Centralized treatment of pollution. The hospital has laid a 50,000 square meter anti-seepage membrane to cover the entire hospital area to ensure that pollutants do not penetrate the soil. Wastewater and air in all rooms are sterilized and disinfected to meet the current standards.

From this great achievement of the Chinese people in fighting the coronavirus, others can learn to think outside the box in extreme situations with pressing medical needs. This example shows us that it is possible to rapidly improve access to health care and carry out large-scale projects in a very short time if the motivation is strong and goals, as well as priorities, are clear. Since this article was written, another hospital, LeiShenShan, has been completed and has started to take patients in Wuhan. Other facilities, such as stadiums and exhibition centres in Wuhan, also serve as temporary hospitals for mild-symptom patients. Our Alcimed GmbH team will continue to follow and decipher the Covid-19 respiratory disease progression and treatment development. Stay tuned!  


About the authors

Bin, Consultant, Alcimed Cologne Office
Sebastian, Project Manager, Alcimed Cologne Office
Elisabeth, Project Manager, Alcimed Cologne Office
Diane, Senior Consultant, Alcimed Cologne Office


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