Coronavirus: Lancet editor-in-chief hails China's innovation of shelter hospitals

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Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet medical journal, has hailed China for the concept of setting up temporary shelter hospitals in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak in the country, calling it a brilliant and innovative idea that the rest of the world should try to adopt.

The prominent British medical journal, on April 18, published an article entitled, “Fangcang shelter hospitals: a novel concept for responding to public health emergencies.”

The report was written by Wang Chen, president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and his team, discuss the idea of “Fangcang shelter hospitals” as a novel public health concept.

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During a recent video interview with China Central Television (CCTV), Horton hailed China's various measures and efforts in the fight against the epidemic, reserving special praise for the innovative idea of the Fangcang shelter hospitals.

He highlights the fact that they can be rapidly built by converting existing public venues such as stadiums and exhibition centers, can accommodate a large number of patients to ease the pressure on other hospitals, and the low cost of building and running such facilities compared to a new hospital.

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“I think the innovation of the shelter hospitals was the one of the most important elements in your successful defeat of the pandemic in China,” he said.

“The idea of creating temporary, huge shelter hospitals, out of pre-existing buildings, where you could take people with mild to moderate disease, where they could be looked after, where they could be triaged or referred to other hospitals if they became much sicker - this was a brilliant, brilliant innovation. Because first of all, it allowed you to protect your other hospitals to make sure that they did not become overwhelmed with sick patients. Second, it allowed you to create the space for the wave of sick patients that came, it allowed you to effectively quarantine those patients within this shelter hospital, and it provided a very safe place for their well-being, so I think it was a very, very important element of your successful response, and again, an important lesson for other countries to learn from," he added.

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