(Yicai Global) Feb. 4 -- The southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has abundant means at present to treat patients with the new coronavirus-caused pneumonia, but the metropolis on Hong Kong's doorstep has still resolved to hasten the construction of the second-phase expansion of its Third People's Hospital to better cope with the situation once more patients appear in the local area as the return of the migrant population that powers the economic dynamo peaks after the end of China's extended Lunar New Year holiday.
Yicai Global paid a visit to the construction site where more than 20 excavators and bulldozers are leveling the terrain for the project, which only one wall separates from the existing hospital.
The construction area of more than 60,000 square meters will add 1,000 beds when finished, bringing the total the hospital can offer patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus to 2,600.
Beds are still unoccupied, a staffer from the infectious disease ward, which specializes in the treatment of the new contagion, told Yicai Global. "Only patients who meet the new pneumonia isolation medical observation standards can apply for admission," this source said, adding there is no "even one bed is hard to find" situation in the city for the time being, and the construction is ramping up just from over-caution and a desire to be prepared.
This medical care facility is the only one designated in the city of 10 million-plus residents for the treatment of coronavirus-induced pneumonia. All Shenzhen's confirmed and suspected cases are now concentrated in this hospital.
Shenzhen is among the big Chinese cities with a huge floating population and hordes of these outsiders will return to work after the Spring Festival holiday in the sprawling metropolis that was a sleepy fishing village mere decades ago. The headcount of those returning to town via various means of travel hit 135,607 on Feb. 2 alone, according to the local transportation agency, though the epidemic has cut the passenger stream by over three-quarters from the same period last year.
This transient population has made Shenzhen the city with the most novel coronavirus pneumonia patients in Guangdong province, with 3,245 confirmed cases ranking it first among Chinese cities outside Hubei province where the new infection first erupted.
Editors: Tang Shihua, Ben Armour