China is battling the worst outbreak of Covid-19 since March 2020. On Tuesday, China reported 103 new confirmed cases and 58 asymptomatic infections, which are counted separately, spread out across four provinces. Hebei province now has a total of 818 active locally transmitted cases, and more than 200 asymptomatic infections, according to the provincial health commission.
Following these new cases that have left tens of millions of people in Hebei province under strict lockdown, China is in the process of building a massive quarantine camp that would house more than 4,000 people.
The quarantine camp is located on the outskirts of Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital of Hebei province, which surrounds the country’s capital, Beijing.
It was originally planned to house 3,000 people but has since been expanded to a capacity of 4,160. More than 4,000 construction workers performed “six days’ and nights’ work” to complete the first phase, said Shijiazhuang Deputy Mayor Meng Xianghong on Tuesday.
Construction of the camp began on January 13, according to state-owned broadcaster CCTV, the first section of the camp is now complete and ready for use. Construction for the second phase is in progress.
Following an urgent government order, more than 600 workers and 100 construction machines have been sent to the site, working 24 hours non-stop in sub-zero temperatures to complete the 108-acre development.
Dimensions of the room are expected to be 18 square meters (around 194 square feet) and will come with an en-suite bathroom and shower, desks, chairs, beds, Wi-Fi, and a television set, according to CCTV.
The ambitious task is reminiscent of earlier efforts during the initial stages of the pandemic, during which authorities built several medical facilities from scratch, including a 1,000-bed hospital in just 10 days.
Spike in cases
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 88,557, while the official death toll is 4,635.
Authorities placed Shijiazhuang under lockdown on January 8, with all 11 million residents barred from leaving the city to contain the outbreak
More than 20,000 citizens from 12 villages in Shijiangzhuang have since been relocated to other quarantine sites as a preventative measure, Chinese state media outlet CGTN reported last week.
After cases were confirmed in the capital’s outermost Daxing district, Beijing authorities have stepped up testing and screening efforts after, also announced on Wednesday they would close two nearby metro stations until further notice.
It remains unclear exactly how many people will end up being confined in the camp, but workers are expected to build 4,160 suites using prefabricated materials to house suspected coronavirus patients.