About Wire Rope News & Sling Technology
Contact Wire Rope News
Read the Current Issue Online!
Wire Rope News home page Search our Database for the Product You Need News in Our Industry Subscribe to Wire Rope News Classified Ads Links of Interest
NEWS > MAY 2020

Cranes vs Coronavirus

Who could imagine that giant construction cranes would play a key role in combating a microscopic enemy?

Huosheshan Hospital construction
Photo: Wuhan. 30th Jan, 2020. Aerial photo taken on Jan. 30, 2020 shows people from China Construction Third Engineering Bureau Co., Ltd. working at the construction site of Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province. More than 4,000 workers and around 1,000 vehicles and large pieces of machinery toiled away at the hospital site day and night. Photograph © Cai Yang/Xinhua/Alamy Live News

by Jane Haynes

In China’s city of Wuhan in the Hubei province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a significant issue was lack of sufficient hospital capacity needed to treat the large number of victims. According to the New York Times, facilities were needed “to ease a persistent shortage of hospital beds and medical supplies.”[1] Chinese leaders mobilized engineering techniques they had developed erecting a hospital quickly during the SARS epidemic in 2003, plus their experience in erecting skyscrapers on short timetables. The use of prefabricated modules, lifted into place by construction cranes, made all the difference in accomplishing their ambitious goals.

The COVID-19 outbreak, identified by the World Health Organization as a pandemic on March 11, has been a serious challenge to health care delivery systems not only in China but throughout the world. According to Johns Hopkins University, as of March 21 there had been 81,304 confirmed cases and 3,139 deaths in China. And as of that date, the virus had killed more than 12,950 people and infected more than 303,180 globally.[2]

At ground zero for the outbreak, Wuhan’s massive need for diagnosing and treating COVID-19 sufferers could not be met by the existing health care infrastructure. Quick and decisive action was called for. Two new hospital buildings were conceived, reportedly loosely modeled on Beijing’s Xiaotangshan Hospital that was constructed in seven days to cope with the SARS epidemic in 2003. Retrofits of additional buildings were also planned.

CNN reported that Chinese builders in the Wuhan province completed the two-story, 366,000 square-foot, 1,000 bed Huosheshan (“Fire God Mountain”[3]) Hospital, in only 10 days in February, having begun January 24th[4]. NBC News reported that China Central Television quoted project manager Fang Xiang, as saying that a project of this scale usually takes at least two years.[5] The 269,000 square-foot site[6] (according to BBC News) located on a riverside was prepared while materials were being mobilized. They installed prefabricated modules with the help of an army of construction cranes and 7,500 laborers who worked round the clock with minimal sleep between shifts.

Business Insider quotes David Hartley, managing director of engineering company MTX, which also focuses on hospital construction in the UK, as saying, “Instead of first building the foundation and then following up with the superstructure (i.e. The steel frame, the building, and the cladding), prefabricated units allow the construction of the foundation and the building envelope to take place in parallel. So the pre-fabricated element, which would be the Lego blocks that you would see being craned in, are actually fabricated off-site in a factory at the same time the foundations are being prepared on-site.”[7]

Wikipedia says, “The hospital was built with prefabrication units for fast construction and installation works. The units were laid on pillars to keep them off the ground. Each unit is about 10 m2 and fitted with two beds. Each room is depressurized to prevent airborne microorganism from spreading out of the hospital. It also has specialized ventilation systems and double-sided cabinets that connect each patient room to hallways, which allows the hospital staffs to deliver supplies without the need to enter each patient room. The hospital is linked by a video system to PLA General Hospital in Beijing.”[8]

Separate wings allow staff to treat patients with different levels of contagiousness or underlying conditions in separate groups. According to Business Insider, the structure has several isolation wards and 30 intensive care units.[9] NBC News, quoting China’s state news agency Xinhua, reports that the hospital also has sections for diagnosis and infection control.[10] Approximately 1,400 medical specialists have been recruited to work there, many of whom worked in the past to treat SARS, to which the new COVID-19 is related, as well as MERS and Ebola, according to NBC News.[11] Wikipedia confirms that “The hospital is manned by 1,400 medical personnel sent by the People’s Liberation Army, which consists of 950 people from hospitals affiliated to Joint Logistics Support Force of Central Military Commission and 450 people from medical universities of PLA who were sent to Wuhan earlier. The hospital also uses medical robots in its daily operation to deliver medicines and carry test samples.”[12]

Wikipedia further says, “According to the reports by Caixin, there were 63 workers from Xiangtan, Hunan, who came to help with the construction. They all returned to Xiangtan and were being quarantined by the local authorities on February 7 after the construction was completed. Two people were confirmed to have COVID-19 among those workers as of February 14. Although the source of their infection is not confirmed yet, they believed they were being infected on the construction site, especially after February 3 when Zone 1 was opened while there was a shortage in supply of masks for construction workers. Those two workers also claimed that some workers had coughs while working.”[13]

Almost simultaneously, another project, the Leishenshan Hospital project was built 25 miles away, using the same engineering approach as the Huosheshan Hospital, but on a slightly larger scale – able to accommodate approximately 1,300 to 1,500 beds.[14] Business Insider reported that a social media online live stream allowed people to follow the construction progress.[15] (See a YouTube version here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=53nhErXUd9A)

It could be hoped that other regions in the world that need to beef up their infrastructure might consider adopting China’s approach so they can also quickly develop the facilities needed to control outbreaks of the microscopic enemy, COVID-19.

arial photo Leishesahan Hospital Wuhan
Photo: Aerial photo taken on February 5, 2020 shows the construction site of the Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province. Photo © Xinhua/Alamy Live News

Sources

  1. New York Times, February 3, 2020, updated February 7, 2020, Amy Qin, “China Pledged to Build a new Hospital in 10 Days. It’s Close.” www.nytimes.com
  2. Johns Hopkins University, March 21, 2020, Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. www.arcgis.com
  3. New York Times, February 3, 2020, updated February 7, 2020, Amy Qin, “China Pledged to Build a new Hospital in 10 Days. It’s Close.” www.nytimes.com
  4. CNN News, February 8, 2020, Oscar Holland and Alexandra Lin, CNN, “How to design a hospital that’s built in days, by someone who’s done it before.” www.cnn.com
  5. NBC News, February 3, 2020, Yuliya Talmazan, “China’s coronavirus hospital built in 10 days opens its doors, state media says.” www.nbcnews.com
  6. BBC News, January 31, 2020, Sophie Williams, “Coronavirus: How can China build a hospital so quickly?” www.bbc.com
  7. Business Insider, February 5, 2020, Sophia Ankel, “A construction expert broke down how China built an emergency hospital to treat Wuhan coronavirus patients in just 10 days.” www.businessinsider.com
  8. Wikipedia, Huoshenshan Hospital. en.wikipedia.org
  9. Business Insider, February 5, 2020, Sophia Ankel, “A construction expert broke down how China built an emergency hospital to treat Wuhan coronavirus patients in just 10 days.” www.businessinsider.com
  10. NBC News, February 3, 2020, Yuliya Talmazan, “China’s coronavirus hospital built in 10 days opens its doors, state media says.” www.nbcnews.com
  11. NBC News, February 3, 2020, Yuliya Talmazan, “China’s coronavirus hospital built in 10 days opens its doors, state media says.” www.nbcnews.com
  12. Wikipedia, Huoshenshan Hospital. en.wikipedia.org
  13. Wikipedia, Huoshenshan Hospital. en.wikipedia.org
  14. CNN News, February 8, 2020, Oscar Holland and Alexandra Lin, CNN, “How to design a hospital that’s built in days, by someone who’s done it before.” www.cnn.com
  15. Business Insider, February 5, 2020, Sophia Ankel, “A construction expert broke down how China built an emergency hospital to treat Wuhan coronavirus patients in just 10 days.” www.businessinsider.com

< more Wire Rope & Sling Technology News

 

Caldwell Lifting Solutions
Suncor Stainless
Chant Engineering
SlingMax Rigging Solutions
Strider~Resource
Wirop Americas
Ken Forging - industrial hardware
Maskell Rigging
Loos wire rope, cable and fittings products
All Material Handling
Associated Wire Rope & Rigging
Campbell Chain & Fittings
Landmann Wire Rope Products
Yoke Industrial Corp.

Be sure to visit our
advertisers by clicking on
the above banners!
Wire Rope News Home Page