February 4, 2020 / 2:28 AM / 20 days ago

China's virus-stricken Wuhan converts buildings into hospitals

FILE PHOTO: Street view after Wuhan government announced to ban non-essential vehicles in downtown area to contain coronavirus outbreak, on the second day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China January 26, 2020. cnsphoto via REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - The central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, started on Monday night to convert a local gymnasium, an exhibition centre and a cultural complex into makeshift hospitals, a local newspaper reported.

The three venues will have more than 3,400 beds in total for patients suffering from mild cases of the infection, the official Changjiang Daily said.

Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei, had planned two makeshift hospitals, Huoshenshan and Leishenshan, with 2,600 beds in total.

Huoshenshan, designed to have 1,000 beds, has been completed and has begun to receive patients. Leishenshan, with 1,600 beds, is under construction.

New confirmed cases in Wuhan surged by 1,242 on Monday to 6,384 in total. So far, 313 people in the city have died of the virus.

The overall death toll in China rose to 425 as of the end of Monday, up by 64 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday.

Reporting by Ryan Woo. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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