After the bulk of new cases reported in China’s Shijiazhuang, the administration is building a 3,000-unit quarantine facility to deal with an anticipated overflow of patients as Covid-19 cases rise ahead of the Lunar New Year travel rush.
That recalled scenes last year, when China rapidly built field hospitals and turned gymnasiums into isolation centers to cope with the initial outbreak linked to the central city of Wuhan.
China has largely contained the further domestic spread of the coronavirus, but the recent spike has raised concerns due to the proximity to the capital Beijing and the impending rush of people planning to travel large distances to rejoin their families for the country’s most important traditional festival.
The National Health Commission on Friday said 1,001 patients were under care for the disease, 26 of them in serious condition.
It said that 144 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours. Hebei accounted for 90 of the new cases, while Heilongjiang province farther north reported 43.
Nine cases were brought from outside the country, while local transmissions also occurred in the southern Guangxi region and the northern province of Shaanxi, illustrating the virus’ ability to move through the vast country of 1.4 billion people despite quarantines, travel restrictions and electronic monitoring.
Shijiazhuang has been placed under virtual lockdown, along with the Hebei cities of Xingtai and Langfang, parts of Beijing and other cities in the northeast.
That has cut off travel routes while more than 20 million people have been told to stay home for the coming days.
In all, China has reported 87,988 confirmed cases with 4,635 deaths.