Coronavirus: few cases in Russia. So why are authorities building a huge hospital?

Construction of a new infectious diseases hospital complex

Construction of a new infectious diseases hospital complex

Moscow Agency
On March 10, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced that Moscow was urgently building an infectious diseases center for coronavirus patients. We have tried to find out why a new hospital is needed and what it will be like.

Large-scale construction

“As part of the high-alert regime, we have decided to build a mobile facility of a new infectious diseases hospital,” Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on his website on March 10.

He added that the new hospital would be built in a short period of time and would be outfitted with the most modern medical equipment.

Within two weeks from the start of construction, the concrete foundations have already been laid and the construction of a treatment facility has begun, said deputy mayor Andrei Bochkarev. The treatment facility will consist of 12 buildings. Soon, the construction of an intensive care facility will begin, and it will consist of 10 buildings with a capacity to accommodate 250 patients.

Construction of a new infectious diseases hospital complex in Moscow

“Currently about 2,000 workers and 500 pieces of equipment are involved in the construction of the hospital. At its peak, more than 5,000 workers will be engaged in the construction of the center,” Bochkarev said.

The hospital will have a total area of about 70,000 square meters and will be able to accommodate 500 patients, including the intensive care unit. The hospital will have over 30 buildings and several departments, including:

- A&E

- Treatment facility

 - Intensive care facility

- Laboratory

- Diagnostics facility

- Children's unit, surgical unit, maternity unit.

Construction of a new infectious diseases hospital complex

The mayor noted that the hospital would be located 250 meters from the nearest residential area, a distance "150 percent greater than the required sanitary zone", so the complex would present no danger to local residents.

The hospital will be ready in a month, the Moskva news agency reported, citing mayor Sobyanin.

Hospital "for a rainy day"

Social media users' reaction to the news of a new infectious diseases center being built has been that of wariness and suspicion.

“Why, if there are only 60 infected per 100,000 people? And isn’t it too late?” commented one Twitter user.

“A week ago they reported that a whole new hospital had been allocated for the sick. If they are building a new one, why?” wondered another user.

“Here is a great idea, why not reopen hospitals that have been closed down. But all this is about spending funds, not building hospitals,” user Yelena Valyes commented regarding the news about the new hospital.

Progress of construction of the new infectious diseases hospital complex

Explaining the decision to build a new hospital, the Moscow mayor said: “At present, Moscow has just isolated cases of the new coronavirus and the existing hospital facilities are coping. Nevertheless, each new case requires the hospitalization of not just the sick person, but of several more people.”

Everyone who has come into contact with a carrier of the virus and is showing even the slightest signs of an acute respiratory viral infection is taken to hospital, Sobyanin explained.

Builders on the construction of a new infectious diseases hospital in Moscow

"There are numerous other instances of 'preventive' hospitalization when a suspected coronavirus case is not subsequently confirmed. And, of course, the city must be ready for any scenario,” the mayor concluded.

Resident Evil in Moscow

In addition to building a new facility, one unit of a recently built hospital in the settlement of Kommunarka on the outskirts of Moscow has been allocated for housing all currently confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases.

At the time of this RT interview, the Kommunarka hospital had 62 patients who had tested positive for the new coronavirus. Its chief physician Denis Protsenko told the TV channel that the facility was meeting all the requirements of an infectious diseases hospital.

Hospital in Kommunarka where patients with suspected coronavirus are located

There are anterooms at all entrances to the COVID-19 patient area. Each time a member of staff enters it, they use disposable protective suits and disinfectants. So far, not a single member of staff has been infected, Protsenko said.

All quarantined patients are provided with free Internet and five meals a day, said Katerina Nazarova, one of the patients at the hospital. All food is delivered in individual disposable containers, boiling water is brought to each patient separately.

She said patients were tested for coronavirus on the first, third and tenth day of their stay at the hospital. Floors are washed with a bleach solution once or twice every day. Visitors are not allowed into the hospital, but they can leave parcels for patients.

Hospital in Kommunarka where patients with suspected coronavirus are located

“I’m in a two-bed ward alone. The corridors are wide and deserted, like in the Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil,” Katerina said.

The chief physician admits that some patients run away from the hospital, not because of poor conditions, but because they are afraid of being in an isolation ward for 14 days, a standard requirement for all patients with suspected COVID-19.

“Some patients are given psychological help. It needs to be understood that self-isolation and quarantine are some of the most effective means. I am in favor of closing the city altogether. I think this would make us safer,” Protsenko said.

Hospital in Kommunarka where patients with suspected coronavirus are located

Most patients at the hospital agree. Some have even recorded a video appeal for others to self-isolate in order to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

“I am in an infectious diseases hospital with suspected coronavirus. I am being constantly asked: 'How are you, how are you doing?' Guys, I'm fine, everything is fine. I am in isolation at a time when there is a pandemic out there. And you are not,” says one of the patients in the video.

Medical hospital on the territory of the hospital complex in Kommunarka. The hospital complex in Kommunarka will accept patients with suspected coronavirus

“You are walking the streets, communicating with potentially infected people, touching the same handrails as they are, breathing the same air. Be mindful and take responsibility for yourself and your loved ones, do it now. In the current conditions, the only way to overcome this disaster is to isolate oneself.”

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