Jan 16, 2021 - World

China builds hospital in 5 days as COVID-19 cases rise in Beijing

Picture of a medical worker inoculating a man with a Covid-19 vaccine in China
Photo: NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

China on Saturday finished a five-day construction project on a 1,500-room hospital as clusters of COVID-19 spread in Beijing and the surrounding provinces.

The state of play: The facility is the one of six hospitals with a total of 6,500 rooms in the works in Nangong, the Xinhua News Agency said Saturday per AP reporting. They are all expected to be completed next week.

By the numbers: China has reached a 10-month high for COVID cases and on Friday reported 168 cases.

  • Yes, but: The numbers remain far below the infection levels the nation saw last February, when China reached a record high of approximately 15,000 daily cases.
  • The country has reported more than 97,000 cases and over 4,700 deaths as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins university data.
  • It remains possible that China — the site of the original coronavirus outbreak — has been underreporting its cases.

What they're saying: The Chinese government has blamed the surge on food imports and travelers visiting the country.

  • The new cases "are all imported from abroad. It was caused by entry personnel or contaminated cold chain imported goods," the National Health Commission said in a statement, per AP.

The big picture: The WHO agreed last May to a call from over 110 countries to lead an independent review of the global coronavirus response after China backed the move following clashes with Australia, which had earlier advocated for a sweeping inquiry.

Go deeper... Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up

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