WUHAN, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, has over 5,000 spare beds in 16 temporary hospitals, which were converted from gyms, exhibition centers and other facilities to cope with a shortage of beds amid the coronavirus outbreak, China's health authority said Friday.
Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission, told a press conference in Wuhan that the daily number of patients discharged from such hospitals, designed for patients with mild symptoms, has greatly exceeded the number of new cases.
Wuhan has so far built 16 facility-turned temporary hospitals with more than 13,000 beds, according to the official. The hospitals have treated a total of 12,000 patients, or one in every four patients of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. Over 7,600 patients are now being treated in such facilities.
No death or new infections have been reported from such hospitals, he said.
"Now looking back, the construction of the makeshift hospitals was a crucial and significant step that expanded our medical resources in a short period of time," Ma said. "If these patients with mild symptoms can not be hospitalized quickly, their illness may deteriorate and also cause widespread transmission in their communities."
"The temporary hospitals have played an important and irreplaceable role in both prevention and treatment (of the disease). It has also created a new mode for quickly mobilizing and expanding medical resources in future responses to public health emergencies and major disasters," he said.