Families torn apart in scramble for flight out of Wuhan: Brit husband forced to leave Chinese wife


The scramble to evacuate coronavirus ground zero is tearing families apart including one British man who says he is being forced to leave his Chinese wife behind.

Britons are due to be evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan tomorrow and will be quarantined for two weeks in a UK military base – as the global death toll from the coronavirus outbreak hits 132 and the disease continues to spread across the globe.

So far more than 6,000 infections have been recorded in 19 countries, with cases tripling since Sunday and jumping 30 per cent in the last 24 hours.

British teacher Jeff Siddle is among those due to be evacuated from Wuhan with his nine-year-old daughter Jasmine- but Beijing is barring his Chinese wife Sindy from boarding the rescue flight.

Mr Siddle family flew to Hubei province to spend time with his partner’s family and celebrate the Chinese New Year- before warnings were in place about the deadly coronavirus epidemic.

Mr Siddle said today: ‘My wife’s a Chinese citizen, although she’s got a permanent residency visa for the UK as a spouse.

‘But what the Foreign Office is saying is they are going to be doing an airlift, possibly tomorrow, but it’s only [for] British citizens. Chinese authorities are not allowing any Chinese residents to leave.

‘I was put in the position to make a decision to either leave my wife here in China, or the three of us stay here (in Wuhan). We have to basically have a nine-year-old child separated from their mother. Who knows how long that is going to be for?’

Other expats stranded in Wuhan and the wider Hubei province – including PE teacher Kharn Lambert and Malcolm Lanyon – have chosen to stay in the region. Mr Lambert said he had given up his seat on the rescue flight because he does not want ‘to come home and put everybody’s health at risk’, while Mr Lanyon refused to leave his Chinese wife behind.

In other developments in the Wuhan coronavirus crisis: 

  • Some 132 people have now died across China and more than 6,000 around the world have caught the highly infectious pneumonia-like infection 
  • Hundreds of British nationals stuck in coronavirus-hit Wuhan are gearing up to be flown back to London on Thursday via chartered plane in a landmark evacuation mission
  • Foreign Office will not provide transport for returning passengers, meaning they’ll have to find their own way home, and lock themselves indoors for two weeks to ‘self-quarantine’
  • The Department of Health confirmed almost 100 people have now been tested for the deadly coronavirus in the UK – but all of them have come back as negative     
Jeff Siddle, his wife Sindy and their nine-year-old daughter Jasmine will be torn apart because Beijing won't allow his Chinese wife on tomorrow's British evacuation flight

Jeff Siddle, his wife Sindy and their nine-year-old daughter Jasmine will be torn apart because Beijing won’t allow his Chinese wife on tomorrow’s British evacuation flight

The couple and their daughter chose to fly to the Hubei province – which has been crippled by the coronavirus epidemic – to spend time with his partner’s family and celebrate the Chinese New Year

The killer coronavirus outbreak has now killed 132 people and struck down more than 6,000. Cases have been spotted in Canada, US, France and Australia

The killer coronavirus outbreak has now killed 132 people and struck down more than 6,000. Cases have been spotted in Canada, US, France and Australia

A pilot wearing a protective suit parks a cargo plane at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province

A pilot wearing a protective suit parks a cargo plane at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province

A Boeing 747 arrives at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska after rescuing Americans from Wuhan yesterday

A Boeing 747 arrives at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska after rescuing Americans from Wuhan yesterday

Wuhan residents wear facemasks as they wait for medical attention at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital to prevent the spread of the deadly virus which began in the city

Wuhan residents wear facemasks as they wait for medical attention at Wuhan Red Cross Hospital to prevent the spread of the deadly virus which began in the city

British PE teacher Kharn Lambert is choosing to stay in the outbreak's epicentre Wuhan to 'give up his seat to others'. He revealed the Foreign Office told him Brits would have to make their own way home once they arrive back in London

British PE teacher Kharn Lambert is choosing to stay in the outbreak’s epicentre Wuhan to ‘give up his seat to others’. He revealed the Foreign Office told him Brits would have to make their own way home once they arrive back in London

WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE ALREADY EVACUATED THEIR RESIDENTS FROM WUHAN? 

The US

The US launched an emergency mission to repatriate 240 citizens yesterday, with a flight out of Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.

On board the flight, which left before dawn local time, was diplomats from the US Consulate as well as other American citizens. One British dual national also boarded the flight. It is unclear whether any medics were on board to monitor passengers for signs of infection.

It made a refueling stop in Alaska and was due to fly on to Ontario, California – but it has since been diverted to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, where it is expected to land in the next few hours.

Passengers were screened before initially boarding in Wuhan, and then went through follow-up checks at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. The will be screened again once they arrive in California. It is thought they will be quarantined for at least 72 hours.

The Chinese partners of US citizens were banned from the rescue flight, reportedly at the demand of Beijing.

Japan

Japanese officials also chartered a flight from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to rescue 206 citizens stuck in the coronavirus-hit city.

The plane landed back at Haneda Airport in Tokyo this morning at around 9am local time after flying to Wuhan overnight.  

The flight was carrying emergency relief supplies including 15,000 masks, 50,000 pairs of gloves and 8,000 protective glasses for medics in Wuhan. Around four medical officials were also on board to monitor returning passengers.

Officials confirmed passengers would be tested for the coronavirus strain. Japan Times the evacuees would be asked to remain at home and isolate themselves to prevent the potential spread. 

France

France’s health minister Agnes Buzyn confirmed a plane will be sent for its stranded citizens on Thursday, to return home on Friday or Saturday. No further details have been given.

There are some 800 French citizens stranded in the Wuhan area. She said French nationals will be held in quarantine for two weeks on arrival to stop the virus spreading on home soil.

The European Union meanwhile said it would co-fund an airlift effort at France’s request, so that more than 100 nationals from other EU nations could be repatriated along with French citizens. 

Australia 

Australia is planning to evacuate its citizens from the epicentre of the deadly virus outbreak in China and quarantine them on an island used to detain asylum seekers. 

No confirmed details have been given, with officials still thrashing out details with Chinese officials. But it is thought Australia will work with New Zealand on the operation and would seek to help Pacific nations evacuate their citizens where possible.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said they would be held in quarantine for 14 days on Christmas Island, known for its notorious immigration detention centre used to detain asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia by boat. 

Morrison said ‘vulnerable’ Australians – including children and the elderly – and short-term visitors to Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province would be prioritised in extraction efforts. 

WHO ELSE IS PLANNING ON EVACUATING RESIDENTS FROM WUHAN?  

India Local media reported the Indian government will request clearance from Beijing to take more than 250 citizens out of Wuhan and that a Boeing 747 in Mumbai is on standby.

Indonesia Jakarta said there are more than 230 Indonesians in China – roughly 100 in Wuhan and the rest in Hubei province. The foreign ministry said yesterday it has yet to decide on an evacuation plan.

Malaysia Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said this morning that Kuala Lumpur was keen to send a plane to Wuhan to evacuate some 78 Malaysians stranded in the city.

Philippines The foreign ministry said today it would evacuate citizens in Hubei on a chartered flight, and asked nationals in the area to contact the Shanghai consulate. 

Sri Lanka Colombo said yesterday there were roughly 860 Sri Lankan students in China. The foreign ministry said it is awaiting a response from the Chinese authorities to operate a Sri Lankan airlines charter flight to Wuhan to evacuate some 32 Sri Lankan students and their relatives.

South Korea Seoul will send chartered planes to Wuhan this week, the foreign ministry said, to return hundreds of its citizens to South Korea on Thursday and Friday.

Thailand Thailand’s premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said yesterday the country was waiting for authorisation from Chinese officials before evacuating people, but that aircraft and doctors were on standby. 

Germany Berlin has not confirmed any evacuation plan but said it is considering options for roughly 90 citizens reportedly in Wuhan.

Spain Spanish officials are working with China and the European Union to take Spanish nationals out of the area, the foreign minister said. 

Algeria President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has asked the government to take all measures needed to bring home 36 Algerians, most of them students, living in Wuhan, according to state agency APS.

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Morocco About 100 people, mostly students in Wuhan, will be evacuated, according to local media.

Mr Siddle, from Prudhoe in Northumberland, added: ‘The way things are going that could be a prolonged period before my Sindy could leave China. My daughter’s obviously been in flood of tears. She’s absolutely devastated.’

The IT software developer added that Sindy was trying to ‘keep strong’ but has been left ‘absolutely distraught’ at Chinese authorities tearing their family apart. He added: ‘It was an awful decision.’

Mr Siddle told the Guardian there were no health warnings in place when they flew out on January 15. He told the newspaper: ‘My head is spinning. It’s just horrendous.

‘This ordeal just turned into our worst nightmare. How can they put a family in this position? Having to leave Sindy in China would be the worst thing that anyone could be put through. How am I going to tell Jasmine that her mum has to stay behind?’ 

Mr Siddle said they have to make their own way to Wuhan Tianhe International Airport, where the US and Japan have flown residents out of the city from. But he added that he is a three-hour drive away from the airport, warning that all the roads are on lockdown.

‘We’ve called the local Chinese office to get some details but they’re saying the only way we can get a car through is if we have a special diplomatic note, so I’ve phoned the Foreign Office and asked for that but they said they can’t do it. So that’s put another stress on top of everything.’  

It comes after stranded expats being evacuated from Wuhan tomorrow were told they will be held in quarantine for two weeks when they return to the UK. 

Up to 200 British expats may be brought home on an emergency flight tomorrow when the Government charters a plane to rescue them.

Wuhan, the city at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, is currently on lockdown with no public transport and no international flights out of the city.

The Government has been under immense pressure to bring home citizens stranded in the city.

And it came under fire after one man said officials had told him he would have to make his own way home when the flight landed.

But now Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said people will be properly quarantined – a Government source added: ‘I think it’s going to be a military base’.

In a tweet Mr Hancock said: ‘We are working hard to get British nationals back from Wuhan. Public safety is the top priority.

‘Anyone who returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention.’

The UK’s Department of Health has confirmed that it is planning to take people travelling back from Wuhan on Thursday to a military base.

Passengers may be asked to sign a contract before they board the plane saying they agree to being placed in quarantine – or be left behind if they refuse.

The US, which flew 240 Americans home from Wuhan last night, first took them to Alaska to have medical screening before being allowed home.

Officials then diverted the plane to a military base in Riverside, California – a local official in San Bernadino said only that they were ‘prepared for the worst.’

One man in Wuhan who contacted the British embassy there said he was told he would have to make his own way home and stay there if he was flown back on the evacuation flight.

PE teacher Kharn Lambert, who has since decided not to come back on the flight, told Sky News: ‘This morning I was on the phone to the embassy and they’ve basically told us via a script they were given by the Foreign Office that the flight will be leaving tomorrow, they’re not sure what time.

‘It will be arriving at a London airport and once we arrive there that basically the Government will not provide any transport whatsoever and we have to find our own way back to our hometowns and then self-isolate for 14 days, which is absolutely ludicrous.

‘It’s got a 14-day incubation period. Now, we’ve been inside for almost 14 days, we’re going outside tomorrow and potentially coming into contact with someone that might have the virus, which would then mean we could potentially catch it and then without showing any symptoms could then spread disease around the UK as we travel from the airport to wherever we live in the UK.’

Mr Lambert said he decided to stay in Wuhan so he didn’t ‘put everybody’s health at risk’ but said his grandmother would have to fly home because she was frail.

The British government had come under increasing pressure to ramp up its rescue efforts after the US launched an emergency mission to repatriate 240 citizens yesterday and 206 Japanese citizens stuck in Wuhan landed back in Tokyo this morning.  

The French government has confirmed a plane will be sent to Wuhan on Thursday and Australia said a plane will be sent for its citizens by the end of the week.   

Diplomats from the US Consulate as well as other American citizens boarded the flight out of Wuhan Tianhe International Airport yesterday afternoon.

One British dual national also boarded the flight. It is unclear whether any medics were on board to monitor passengers for signs of infection.

It made a refueling stop in Alaska and was due to fly on to Ontario, California – but it has since been diverted to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California, where it is expected to land in the next few hours.

Passengers were screened before initially boarding in Wuhan, and then went through follow-up checks at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Alaska. The will be screened again once they arrive in California. It is thought they will be quarantined for at least 72 hours.

The Chinese partners of US citizens were banned from the rescue flight, reportedly at the demand of Beijing. Japanese officials also chartered a flight from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to rescue 206 citizens stuck in the coronavirus-hit city.

The plane landed back at Haneda Airport in Tokyo this morning at around 9am local time after flying to Wuhan overnight.  

The flight was carrying emergency relief supplies including 15,000 masks, 50,000 pairs of gloves and 8,000 protective glasses for medics in Wuhan. Around four medical officials were also on board to monitor returning passengers.

Mr Lambert - who is stuck in Wuhan with his visiting 81-year-old grandmother Veronica Theobald and last week begged the Foreign Office to 'come and get them' - revealed he has been in contact with the British embassy in Beijing for the first time

Mr Lambert – who is stuck in Wuhan with his visiting 81-year-old grandmother Veronica Theobald and last week begged the Foreign Office to ‘come and get them’ – revealed he has been in contact with the British embassy in Beijing for the first time

Britons WILL be quarantined at a military base for two weeks 

People returning to the UK from the Chinese city of Wuhan on a coronavirus evacuation flight will be quarantined at a military base for two weeks.

Up to 200 British expats may be brought home on an emergency flight tomorrow when the Government charters a plane to rescue them.

Wuhan, the city at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, is currently on lockdown with no public transport and no international flights out of the city.

The Government has been under immense pressure to bring home citizens stranded in the city.

And it came under fire after one man said officials had told him he would have to make his own way home when the flight landed.

But now Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said people will be properly quarantined – a Government source added: ‘I think it’s going to be a military base’.

In a tweet Mr Hancock said: ‘We are working hard to get British nationals back from Wuhan. Public safety is the top priority.

‘Anyone who returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention.’

The UK’s Department of Health has confirmed that it is planning to take people travelling back from Wuhan on Thursday to a military base.

Passengers may be asked to sign a contract before they board the plane saying they agree to being placed in quarantine – or be left behind if they refuse. 

Officials confirmed passengers would be tested for the coronavirus strain. Japan Times the evacuees would be asked to remain at home and isolate themselves to prevent the potential spread. 

France’s health minister Agnes Buzyn confirmed a plane will be sent for its stranded citizens on Thursday, to return home on Friday or Saturday. No further details have been given.

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There are some 800 French citizens stranded in the Wuhan area. She said French nationals will be held in quarantine for two weeks on arrival to stop the virus spreading on home soil.

The European Union meanwhile said it would co-fund an airlift effort at France’s request, so that more than 100 nationals from other EU nations could be repatriated along with French citizens.  

As the death toll continued to soar, British Airways suspended all flights to mainland China with ‘immediate effect’ amid the escalating coronavirus crisis which has killed 130 people.

The airline halted all bookings on its website for direct flights from London to Beijing and Shanghai until March, following the Foreign Office’s unprecedented advice last night urging Britons not to travel to mainland China unless their visit is essential. 

Flights to Hong Kong will continue – but passengers will have to use a different airline to head on to the Chinese mainland. It is not yet clear how BA will bring back its thousands of customers booked on flights to the UK from China over the coming weeks.   

A BA spokesman said: ‘We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority. Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on BA.com.’

United Airlines, the biggest US carrier to China, has also announced it will be cutting 24 flights in near-term to China and the White House is said to be considering stopping all US-China flights completely to stop the virus spreading. 

Culture Secretary Baroness Morgan said BA’s decision to suspend all flights to China would give ‘more impetus’ to the Government’s bid to arrange for Britons to travel home – amid growing pressure on British ministers to step up the landmark evacuation mission.

Medics in protective gear treat a patient with coronavirus at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, in Wuhan - the outbreak's epicentre - on Tuesday

Medics in protective gear treat a patient with coronavirus at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, in Wuhan – the outbreak’s epicentre – on Tuesday

‘The Foreign Office will be working with staff on the ground to identify UK nationals,’ the Conservative peer told BBC Breakfast.

‘We will get people home as soon as we can, as soon as we can make arrangements. ‘Obviously, today’s decision by British Airways provides more impetus to the Government to make other plans and communicate those.

‘The health system is well prepared. We are not aware of any confirmed cases of the virus here in the UK but we do have the expertise to look after people, to treat and to test should that become necessary.’

Rory Boland, travel editor for consumer watchdog Which?, said a lack of clear guidance from BA would spark panic for passengers stranded in China.

He said: ‘British Airways’ decision to cancel flights to and from China is understandable following the Foreign Office travel warning. 

‘But a lack of clear information about what this means for BA passengers currently in China and due to fly home with the airline in the coming days is going to cause distress.’

Meanwhile, a British coronavirus patient who had returned from Wuhan was loaded into an ambulance by a hazmat-clad paramedic yesterday – hours after being sent home by his GP. 

Drew Bennett, 39, was feared to have contracted the potentially deadly virus during a recent holiday to the Chinese city at the heart of the outbreak and is currently in isolation at a Birmingham hospital.  

The sales worker returned from Wuhan on New Years’ Eve and quickly developed flu-like symptoms before becoming too unwell to leave his bed.

But he revealed that when he visited his GP on Monday he was told to go home – despite fears the highly contagious virus is poised to claim its first British victim.

The advice given by his doctor contradicted health bosses’ warning that suspected coronavirus patients must be ‘locked in a room alone straight away’.

Guidance issued to GPs by Public Health England last week ordered them to put patients in a separate room, close the door and ‘don’t let them touch anything or anyone’. 

At 4.20pm on Monday an ambulance carrying medics in hazmat suits was sent to Mr Bennett’s address in Harborne, Birmingham. He was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to have blood tests, where he remains in isolation awaiting results.

Video captured by a neighbour showed one medic wearing a white hazmat suit, blue apron, gloves and a mask with a visor, escorting him into the ambulance.

But two West Midlands Ambulance Service crew could be seen without any protective clothing or masks – sparking fears British authorities are failing to take the threat of spreading the killer disease seriously.    

The latest video comes despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock just yesterday warning around 2,000 Britons who are thought to have returned from Wuhan since the start of the outbreak to ‘self-isolate, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people’ in a significant ramping up of precautions. 

Meanwhile in China, health workers have been hosing down streets, shops and public transport with disinfectant spray to try curb the spiralling epidemic.

Coronavirus has been deemed highly contagious and can spread via a simple cough or sneeze. It has killed more than 130 people in under a month.

West Midlands Ambulance Service has refused to answer any questions about why some staff were not wearing protective clothing while collecting Mr Bennett. A spokesman for the trust repeatedly told this website: ‘We can’t say a thing about the case.’ 

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr Bennett told Birmingham Live: ‘Once I got back I was really ill with, what I thought, was a bad case of the flu. At that stage coronavirus hadn’t really been mentioned so I thought nothing of it.

‘However, when I went to the GP on Monday and he asked as a precaution if I had been to China, he seemed really concerned.

‘I was sent home and before I knew it, ambulances and people in hazmat suits had turned up. ‘I’m now in isolation at the QE [Queen Elizabeth] and just waiting to get my blood test results.’

Mr Bennett said he ‘did not feel particularly unwell’ now but admitted he has ‘not been 100 per cent’ since returning from China. 

The salesman was sent home from his doctor practice on Monday despite admitting he was struck down with illness after visiting disease-ridden Wuhan last month. 

But just last week Public Health England told doctors to lock patients in a room and leave straight away if they suspect they have coronavirus.

It reiterated that there were no confirmed cases of the virus in the UK. Nearly 100 people have now been tested for the virus, but all of them have come back as negative. 

The extraordinary guidance read: ‘If [the Wuhan coronavirus] is considered possible when a consultation is already in progress, withdraw from the room, close the door and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

‘Avoid physical examination of a suspected case. The patient should remain in the room with the door closed. Belongings and waste should remain in the room.

‘Advise others not to enter the room. If a clinical history still needs to be obtained or completed, do this by telephone.

‘The patient should not be allowed to use communal toilet facilities. Instruct them to not touch anything or anyone when walking to the toilet. Instruct the patient to wash their hands thoroughly after toileting.’  

Christian Diaz, 32, who lives across the hallway from Mr Bennett’s flat, said he is now fearful for his own health after spending so long in close proximity to him. 

He added: ‘I was absolutely terrified when I looked out of my window and saw people walking around in Hazmat suits. It looked like something out of a movie. 

‘An ambulance pulled up and then he was taken out wearing a mask. It seemed very serious. We are all very worried. Nobody has let us know what is going on. 

‘We don’t know whether the building will be put into quarantine if it turns out that he does have the infection. Obviously, we hope that he is OK, but it’s concerning for everyone.’

Separate footage taken in the early hours of Monday showed an ambulance worker in a white protective suit outside an address in Spitalfields, east London.

Details about the video are scarce and the London Ambulance Service Trust refused to comment, saying the Department of Health (DoH) is dealing with the incident. The DoH said it would not speak on individual cases.  

Meanwhile, China‘s first dedicated coronavirus hospital has opened in a city near Wuhan after workers and volunteers spent just two days converting an empty building to a 1,000-bed emergency facility.

By Monday, all of the beds had been set up by volunteers, and water, electricity and internet had also been connected, according to the government of Huanggang

By Monday, all of the beds had been set up by volunteers, and water, electricity and internet had also been connected, according to the government of Huanggang

A handout image from the Huanggang government shows workers from the city's electricity company working to connect the building to the grid so it can treat coronavirus patients

A handout image from the Huanggang government shows workers from the city’s electricity company working to connect the building to the grid so it can treat coronavirus patients

The first batch of coronavirus patients were transferred to the Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre in Huanggang at around 10:30pm local time on Tuesday.     

The extra capacity will be crucial for overwhelmed medical staff in Hubei, the locked-down province at the centre of the crisis.

Another hospital is being purpose-built from scratch in Wuhan 47 miles (75km) away and is expected to be completed later this week after just a week of construction.  

The hospital building in the city’s Huangzhou District was originally built as a new branch of Huanggang Central Hospital and expected to open in May. 

But on Friday, the local authority ordered the complete but empty building to be used for treating coronavirus patients only and began preparations on Saturday.

By Monday, all of the beds had been set up by volunteers and water, electricity and internet had also been installed, according to the government of Huanggang. 

More than 500 workers and a dozen heavy vehicles worked two days and nights in order to complete the task on time. 

Situated 47 miles (75 km) south-west of Wuhan, Huanggang has a population of around 7.5million and is one of the cities hit hardest by coronavirus.

It went into lockdown last Thursday, the same day as Wuhan, and has seen at least 213 confirmed cases and four deaths.

Much of the Hubei province, which contains both of the cities, now has no public transport and limited road traffic.

Anyone from the province who does manage to leave is likely to be turned away or quarantined at their destination – many, such as Hong Kong, are banning visitors from Wuhan, while the UK has told anyone travelling out of the area to isolate themselves at home.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the latest country to declare cases – an unknown number among a family travelling from China – and Germany has now diagnosed four people with the infection.

Germany also yesterday revealed it had hosted the first human-to-human transmission in Europe, between a German man and a woman travelling from China. 

Wuhan’s SECOND coronavirus hospital springs from the ground in time-lapse video as officials say it will be open in a week and global death toll hits 132

Amazing time-lapse footage has shown heavy-duty vehicles working in full gear in Wuhan to build the city’s second coronavirus hospital which is expected to open in a week.

The drone video emerged after China‘s first coronavirus hospital yesterday started to treat patients in Huanggang following just two days of building works.

Beijing has sent more than 6,000 medical workers, including military doctors, to the province of Hubei in central China to help fight the lethal virus, which has killed at least 132 and infected more than 6,160 worldwide. 

Authorities from two provinces have ordered at least four emergency medical centres to be constructed in no longer than 10 days in a bid to contain the outbreak. 

Trending footage released by Chinese state media People's Daily shows construction works in full swing on the site of Leishenshan Hospital, the second coronavirus hospitals in Wuhan

Trending footage released by Chinese state media People’s Daily shows construction works in full swing on the site of Leishenshan Hospital, the second coronavirus hospitals in Wuhan

The second hospital in Wuhan, named the Leishanshan or Thunder God Mountain Hospital, is situated in Jiangxia District, a suburban area to the south of the city centre. In the picture above, construction machinery sits at the site of the second temporary hospital on January 26. Construction started on Saturday and the hospital is set to have two buildings

The second hospital in Wuhan, named the Leishanshan or Thunder God Mountain Hospital, is situated in Jiangxia District, a suburban area to the south of the city centre. In the picture above, construction machinery sits at the site of the second temporary hospital on January 26. Construction started on Saturday and the hospital is set to have two buildings

Around 2,000 medical workers are expected to treat patients in the dedicated 14-acre, 1,600-bed centre, which is the second of its kind in Wuhan, the ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak in China. In the picture above, an engineering contractor walks in front of construction machinery on the construction site of the Leishenshan Hospital on January 26

Around 2,000 medical workers are expected to treat patients in the dedicated 14-acre, 1,600-bed centre, which is the second of its kind in Wuhan, the ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak in China. In the picture above, an engineering contractor walks in front of construction machinery on the construction site of the Leishenshan Hospital on January 26

The second institution is named the Thunder God Mountain Hospital because Chinese people believe the God of Thunder is the God who punishes the God of Evil, signifying that the locals wish the 'evil' coronavirus to be controlled as soon as possible

The second institution is named the Thunder God Mountain Hospital because Chinese people believe the God of Thunder is the God who punishes the God of Evil, signifying that the locals wish the ‘evil’ coronavirus to be controlled as soon as possible

The 50-second clip of the construction site of Wuhan’s Leishenshan Hospital was shared today by People’s Daily Online on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

The medical centre, also known as the Thunder God Mountain Hospital, is situated in Jiangxia District, a suburban area to the south of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged late last month.

Why are China’s coronavirus hospitals called Huoshenshan and Leishanshan

The names of both hospitals in Wuhan are inspired by the Chinese mythology.

The first facility is named the Fire God Mountain Hospital because according to legend, fire can counteract gold, which is one of the five elements in traditional Chinese medicine that represents a person’s lungs – indicating the coronavirus which mainly infects one’s respiratory system. 

The second institution is named the Thunder God Mountain Hospital because Chinese people believe the God of Thunder is the God who punishes the God of Evil, signifying that the locals hope the ‘evil’ coronavirus can be subdued as soon as possible. 

The facility will occupy about 60,000 square metres (14 acres), including 51,000 square metres (12 acres) of quarantine units and 9,000 square metres (2.2 acres) of dormitories to house around 2,000 medical workers, a spokesperson from China Construction Third Engineering Bureau told Xinhua News Agency.

The hospital was originally designed to have 1,300 beds, but the the government of Wuhan has decided to have 300 extra beds installed after the outbreak accelerated in recent days.  

Building works officially started on Sunday and as of noon today, a third of the project has been complete, the same report said.

The first coronavirus hospital to be built in Wuhan is the Huoshenshan or Fire God Mountain Hospital, which is situated in Caidian District in the western suburbs of the city.

The city’s officials instructed four construction companies last Friday to toil through the Chinese New Year holiday in order to complete the six-acre, 1,000-bed institution in the space of seven days. 

According to a previous report from CCTV, the Huoshenshan hospital was due to comprise a number of temporary buildings, but the officials were still deciding whether they would use pre-fabricated components to be assembled onsite or wards converted from shipping containers. 

The Chinese city ravaged by a deadly new virus has vowed to build two hospitals in less than a week to fight an outbreak that has left at least 132 people dead in the country. In the picture above, mechanical equipment are seen working on the construction site of the coronavirus hospital in the Caidian District in the western suburb of Wuhan, China, on January 24

The Chinese city ravaged by a deadly new virus has vowed to build two hospitals in less than a week to fight an outbreak that has left at least 132 people dead in the country. In the picture above, mechanical equipment are seen working on the construction site of the coronavirus hospital in the Caidian District in the western suburb of Wuhan, China, on January 24

China is building at least four coronavirus hospitals in a bid to curb the spread of the disease

China is building at least four coronavirus hospitals in a bid to curb the spread of the disease

Two of the urgent projects are in Wuhan, one in nearby Huanggang and one in Zhenzhou

Two of the urgent projects are in Wuhan, one in nearby Huanggang and one in Zhenzhou

The Huoshenshan Hospital is expected to open on February 2 while the Leishenshan Hospital is due to receive patients on February 5. Both will be run by military medics.

China’s President Xi Jinping today ordered his two-million-strong army to shoulder their responsibilities given by the people and fight the war that is the coronavirus outbreak. 

Another hospital is being built in Zhenzhou in central China’s Henan Province, which borders Hubei. Workers started renovating an old hospital branch on Monday and the project is expected to finish within 10 days. 

All of them are modelled on a temporary medical centre in Beijing in 2003, which was built in seven days to tackle SARS and treated one-seventh of the country’s SARS patient in the space of two months. 

China‘s first coronavirus hospital opened in Huanggang yesterday after workers and volunteers spent just two days converting an empty building to a 1,000-bed emergency facility.

The Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre is the first dedicated coronavirus hospital to have opened in China. Workers and volunteers spent two days revamping an empty building

The Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre is the first dedicated coronavirus hospital to have opened in China. Workers and volunteers spent two days revamping an empty building

A picture released by the Huanggang government shows construction workers installing necessary facilities on the site of Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre on January 25

A picture released by the Huanggang government shows construction workers installing necessary facilities on the site of Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre on January 25

The first batch of coronavirus patients were transferred to the Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre in Huanggang at around 10:30pm local time Tuesday. 

 



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