Jan. 23 – The Wuhan Municipal Government called an emergency meeting to build a makeshift hospital in response to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak. China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) in Wuhan, was named the contractor of the project. Located in the city’s Caidian District, the Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital would take a total building area of 33,900 square meters and accommodate 1,000 beds. The hospital was modeled after the Xiaotangshan Hospital, a field hospital built in Beijing for the 2003 SARS pandemic.
Jan. 23, 5 p.m. – Following instructions from the CSCEC headquarter, China Construction Third Engineering Bureau convened a pre-construction meeting for the Huoshenshan project. CSCEC construction teams, machineries, and other resources were immediately mobilized to carry out foundation construction overnight.
Jan. 24, morning – China Construction Third Engineering Bureau set up a special working panel to lead the construction project and anti-epidemic efforts. On the same day, 95 excavators, 33 bulldozers, five rollers, and 160 dump trucks joined the project, 160 site managers and 240 workers were assembled, and a reserve team of 2,000 workers was formed.
Jan. 25, evening – The construction of the Huoshenshan Hospital was officially launched. A project with a construction area of more than 30,000 square meters would typically take at least two years if following standard construction procedures. A temporary facility of this size would normally take one month, not to mention that it is an urgent hospital project to fight the infectious respiratory disease. However, with the effort of more than 7,000 construction workers, who gathered from different regions of the country and worked around the clock, the Huoshenshan Hospital was completed on Feb. 2, and was handed over to the People’s Liberation Army. Chinese construction workers have once again completed an impossible mission and demonstrated China’s speed and strength in unity.
From Jan. 23 when the Huoshenshan Hospital project was initiated, to Feb. 2, the day of handover, the number of confirmed cases in Wuhan increased sharply from 495 to 5,142. To prevent cross infection on the construction site with thousands of people working around the clock, the on-site epidemic prevention panel was divided into two shifts to work non-stop with the construction teams. Since the start of the Huoshenshan Hospital project, not a single safety incident or a cross infection case was reported from the construction site.
At a press conference in Geneva on Jan. 31, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke highly of China’s efforts to fight the epidemic, saying that he had never seen this kind of mobilization in his life.
“And maybe you’re following the one hospital which was being built in 10 days, big hospital, but that’s not the only thing. You know the measures they are taking, which I believe will reverse the tide,” the WHO chief added.