On the outskirts of Wuhan, the construction of a thousand-bed hospital resembles a race against the clock, with its hundreds of workers, its wheel of excavators and ... its thermometers to detect viral pneumonia.
You have to work fast, to fight the epidemic, "says a worker of about 30 years of age, who prefers not to give his name.
He says work nine hours a day, "sometimes more, sometimes less, depends on the needs
In Wuham, the epicenter of the epidemic and quarantined city, hospitals are overwhelmed by the flow of patients affected by pneumonia, or simply fearing contagion.
The authorities have thus decided to launch the construction of two new hospitals, which must be completed in record time.
According to the state press, the construction of the first hospital began on Friday and will be finished on February 3, and will have an area of 25,000 m2.
A second hospital with a thousand beds will be built within two weeks.
- "Come on Wuhan!" -
Both hospitals will exclusively host patients who are victims of the new pathogen.
You have to isolate the sick and treat them as quickly as possible, Chen Bingzhong, a former head of the Ministry of Health, told AFP. The contagion power of this virus is very large.
Come on Wuhan! Can be seen on a banner placed in the front of a truck of the work, which reproduces the cry of encouragement prevailing in this city since it has been isolated from the world.
In the area of the works, the excavators load the trucks with dirt while the bulldozers flatten the floor of the future hospital, where the first patients should theoretically arrive in a week.
Technicians are activated to install electricity, and others do so with 5G antennas. The others place water evacuation tubes.
The workers, who are taken to the bus sector, must undergo temperature control when they return to their homes or resting places, which are located on the other side of the street.
A guard, with an electronic thermometer, tests his own frontal temperature in a few seconds.
- Rotations 24 / 24h -
China already built a hospital in Beijing in record time - a week - during the deadly SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in 2003. Then it was a question of assembling prefabricated elements.
According to the Xinhua agency, the new hospital built in Wuhan is designed according to the same model.
A head of one of the construction companies said the agency had "mobilized all the workers left in Wuhan", as many were out of town due to the Chinese New Year holidays.
According to the government, the budget for construction and for the material of the two hospitals amounts to 300 million yuan (39 million euros, USD 43 million).
Zang, a worker who arrived three days ago from a neighboring province, explains that his work will be finished within three days.
In a city traumatized by the virus, Zang says he is not afraid: in the play "there are no patients: they are all in the hospital," he says.