The first patients have arrived at a 1,000-bed hospital built in eight days as part of China’s efforts to fight the coronavirus, according to state media.
The specially built Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, has been equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment and ventilation systems.
No details about the patients’ identities or conditions have been released.
The facility was reportedly built by a 7,000-member crew of carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other specialists, and has 30 intensive care units.
A second hospital with 1,500 beds is also under construction in the city and is due to open soon.
Leading Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, who played a major role in overcoming China’s 2002-03 outbreak of SARS, told state broadcaster CCTV that the additional beds and space were crucial to stopping the spread of new infections because sick patients could now stay in hospital rather than being sent home.
The total number of deaths in China rose to 361 as of Sunday, up 57 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said.
The number of new confirmed infections in China rose by 2,829, bringing the total to 17,205.
The flu-like virus has spread to at least 25 other countries, affecting around 150 people, with the first death outside of China reported on Sunday, that of a 44-year-old Chinese man who died in the Philippines after travelling from Wuhan.
In a sign of the economic toll of the outbreak, China’s Shanghai Composite index plunged 8.7%, wiping almost $370bn off the market value, as financial markets reopened Monday following the Lunar New Year holiday.
The yuan opened at its weakest level this year and slid 1%, past the symbolic 7-per-dollar level in onshore trade.
China’s central bank sent a powerful message about its intent to support the economy, with a larger than expected injection of funds into markets, and Beijing also said it would help firms that produce vital goods resume work as soon as possible, CCTV reported.
Lian Weiliang of China’s National Development and Reform Commission said during a news briefing that the impact from the outbreak would be short term and that China was fully capable of minimising the economic impact from the outbreak.