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Coronavirus

China to build more than 60 makeshift hospitals to tackle COVID-19

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Each of China’s provinces should set up at least two to three makeshift hospitals to treat COVID-19 infections amid omicron’s explosive spread in the country, according to the country’s National Health Commission.

The move came after China updated its Covid treatment guidelines last week to reserve designated hospitals for those with severe conditions, while patients with mild symptoms should be sent to isolation facilities to avoid overwhelming the medical system.

A total of 33 makeshift hospitals have been built, or are currently under construction, to provide 35,000 beds, Jiao Yahui, an official with National Health Commission, said at a Tuesday briefing. Some 31 local governments are required to come up with plans to ensure the hospitals can be put into use within two days when needed.

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China’s Covid Zero policy requires all those infected to be admitted to hospitals. With more than 95 percent of the cases in the current omicron-fueled resurgence having mild symptoms or asymptomatic, requiring hospitalization for all of them could add pressure on the hospital system and deprive timely treatment for the severely ill.

China requires mandated testing in targeted regions to be completed within 24 hours to curb the spread of omicron variant, Jiao said. The country’s makeshift hospitals were built in 10 days in Wuhan when the outbreak first spread.

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