Hong Kong Converts Giant Trade Hall into Makeshift Covid-19 Hospital
What’s new: Hong Kong authorities have converted one of the city’s largest performance venues into a 500-bed makeshift hospital as the city is lashed by a new outbreak of Covid-19.
The ‘shelter hospital’ which began operating Saturday in Hall 1 of the AsiaWorld-Expo is equipped to treat patients with milder symptoms of the virus, and is hoped to take pressure off the city’s overloaded general hospitals.
|Photo: Hong Kong Hospital Authority|
The background: Hong Kong has recorded more than 100 new cases of coronavirus each day since July 21, and almost 1,200 people sick with the virus are being treated in hospitals there, according to city authorities.
Chung Kin Lai, director of quality and safety at the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, said the 500 new beds would soon be overwhelmed if the city continues to record more than 100 cases each day. He said authorities are already drawing up plans to convert the expo’s Hall 2 into an additional ward.
Located next to Hong Kong International Airport, the AsiaWorld-Expo Hall 1 is better known as the site of diamond trade fairs and international touring acts, and plans for American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish to perform there at the end of the month were postponed earlier this year.
The facility echoes ‘shelter hospitals’ in the original coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan, which were rapidly repurposed from public venues such as stadiums and exhibition centers to both quarantine and treat patients with milder cases of the virus.
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