Workers arrange beds in a 2,000-bed mobile hospital set up in an exhibition center in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Tuesday, Feb. 04, 2020.
  • Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak that has killed 426 people and spread to over 20,000 people in more than two dozen countries, is scrambling to build makeshift shelter hospitals at civilian facilities.
  • The city began transforming a local sports stadium, exhibition center, and cultural complex into medical facilities with as many as 3,400 beds late Monday, Chinese state media reported Tuesday morning.
  • Tuesday evening, local authorities announced that the city is converting another eight venues into temporary coronavirus hospitals, Xinhua News Agency reports.
  • These makeshift shelter hospitals will be used to provide emergency aid, treatment, and clinical examination services for patients with mild coronavirus symptoms.
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The sprawling central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of a viral outbreak that has claimed hundreds of lives in a matter of weeks, is rushing to turn nearly a dozen local buildings, such as sports centers and exhibition halls, into makeshift hospitals as the coronavirus continues to tear through the city, Chinese media reports.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, started converting three facilities, namely Hongshan Gymnasium, the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center, and a cultural complex known as the "Wuhan Living Room" into temporary shelter hospitals on Monday, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reports.

On Tuesday, local authorities in Wuhan announced plans to transform another eight venues into makeshift medical facilities, Xinhua reports. Chinese state media did not clarify which facilities in particular would be chosen but revealed that like the other three places chosen, the venues selected would include places like sports centers, gymnasiums, and exhibition halls.

The three facilities that have already been converted offer 3,400 beds. In total, the 11 temporary hospitals will provide more than 10,000 beds for coronavirus patients. The conversion process for these places is expected to be completed on Wednesday.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, panic-built Huoshenshan Hospital, a working hospital with 1,000 beds, in just 10 days, and another quickly constructed medical facility, Leishenshan Hospital with around 1,600 beds, is expected to open Wednesday at the earliest.

Huoshenshan Hospital construction nears completion on February 3, 2020 in Wuhan, China. After only 10 days of construction, Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital was officially completed and delivered, and on February 3, patients with newly diagnosed coronavirus pneumonia were admitted.
Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Wuhan, a city with a population of 11 million people, has many hospitals and clinics available, but as the virus continues to spread, hitting the city and the larger province hard, additional care facilities are needed.

On Tuesday, 3,156 new cases of the virus and 65 new deaths were reported in Hubei, bringing the total infection numbers for the province up to 16,678 with deaths totaling 479, according to the semi-official Global Times.

Workers lay beds in the Wuhan living room exhibition center, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, February 4, 2020.
Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese state-broadcaster CGTN reported that the 11 shelter hospitals will be primarily used for "emergency aid, surgical treatment, and clinical examination." These facilities will be for individuals with mild coronavirus symptoms.

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