WUHAN, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, is racing to create more temporary hospitals to cope with the surging number of patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, has decided to convert 11 venues, including gymnasiums, exhibition centers and sports centers, into makeshift hospitals, which can provide a total of over 10,000 beds.
The measure, which experts say is unprecedented in China, came as the hard-hit city is grappling to provide beds for over 8,000 infected patients and provincial authorities vowed to leave no patient unattended.
"Putting into operation temporary hospitals with a large number of beds inside a giant space is a major public health measure China has taken," said Wang Chen, a renowned respiratory expert and president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
"It is a key measure taken by the authorities at a critical time," said Wang. "Unlike field hospitals during wartime or quake-relief efforts, the makeshift hospitals in Wuhan are unprecedented in China."
The temporary hospitals, located in different districts of the city, will take in patients with mild symptoms caused by the coronavirus.
Wang said the new measure is specifically designed to address the pressing issue of virus transmission in households and communities.
"If a large number of patients with mild symptoms live at home or suspected patients roam around in the community, they will become the main source to spread the virus," Wang said.
Moreover, as hospital beds are in short supply, their lives could be in danger if they are not effectively treated, the expert added.