China builds hospital in 5 days after surge in virus cases

China on Saturday finished building a 1,500-room hospital for Covid-19 patients to fight a surge in infections the government said are harder to contain and that it blamed on infected people or goods from abroad.

The hospital is one of six with a total of 6,500 rooms being built in Nangong, south of Beijing in Hebei province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

China had largely contained the coronavirus that first was detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019 but has suffered a surge of cases since December.

A total of 645 people are being treated in Nangong and the Hebei provincial capital, Shijiazhuang, Xinhua said. A 3,000-room hospital is under construction in Shijiazhuang.

Virus clusters also have been found in Beijing and the provinces of Heilongjiang and Liaoning in the northeast and Sichuan in the southwest.

The latest infections spread unusually fast, the National Health Commission said.

“It is harder to handle,” a Commission statement said. “Community transmission already has happened when the epidemic is found, so it is difficult to prevent.”

The Commission blamed the latest cases on people or goods arriving from abroad. It blamed “abnormal management” and “inadequate protection of workers” involved in imports but gave no details.

“They are all imported from abroad. It was caused by entry personnel or contaminated cold chain imported goods,” said the statement.

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