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Coronavirus: Chinese officials plan to build 1,000-bed quarantine center in less than 2 weeks

Posted at 1:38 PM, Jan 24, 2020

Officials in Wuhan, China, are scrambling to build a 1,000-bed quarantine and treatment facility as a new coronavirus continues to spread with frightening speed in the city.

According to The Associated Press, the building is a prefabricated structure, and officials plan to have it built by Feb. 3 — a construction time of fewer than two weeks.

Video shared on Twitter by the People's Daily, China shows about a dozen excavators clearing the area where the center will be built.

NPR reports that it isn't the first time a disease outbreak has prompted emergency construction projects. In 2003, when a SARS outbreak sickened thousands in China, officials in Beijing were able to build a similar center in less than a week.

The coronavirus, which has sickened more than 800 people since it was first discovered in December, has killed 26 people. The disease has spread to a handful of countries around the world, including the United States. Officials have confirmed two cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., both from patients that had recently visited Wuhan.

The outbreak has prompted travel lockdowns in Wuhan and the province of Hubei. The CDC has issued a level 3 travel warning to Hubei.

The outbreak is also coinciding with the Lunar New Year, one of the biggest travel holidays in China. Disneyland in Shanghai, the only Disney park in China's mainland, has closed until further notice.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.