Footage of New Military-Operated Coronavirus Hospital in Wuhan Reveals Prison-Like Environs

February 3, 2020 Updated: February 6, 2020
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A newly built hospital in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in central China, began operations on Feb. 3 under the supervision of China’s military.

Medical staff there will comprise workers from different organizations, such as military medical universities and military hospitals. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Joint Logistic Support Force will oversee the operations.

The hospital, which isn’t open to the public, will only receive patients as arranged by the local government in Wuhan.

Netizens and Chinese media shared videos showing the interior of the facility, which corroborate footage released by the authorities.

In video footage published on Feb. 2, a member of the construction crew that worked on the hospital demonstrates that all of the doors are locked from the outside, meaning that patients can’t freely enter or leave their rooms or the facility.

“This so-called hospital is actually a prison. You can’t leave if you are inside,” the man says. “Basically, [patients] are waiting to die here. They will then be sent to the crematorium after death.”

That information couldn’t be independently verified by The Epoch Times.

Hospital

On Feb. 3, the Huoshenshan Hospital was officially in operation. Chinese state media Xinhua praised that this hospital was built quickly, because more than 4,000 workers only spent 10 days to build this 1,000-bed capacity hospital.

Another state media China Pictorial reported that the total construction area of the hospital is 59,000 square meters (635,070 square feet). The isolated ward area is 34,000 square meters (365,970 square feet).

The other buildings inside the hospital are living quarters for medical staff and soldiers.

Another new facility built in Wuhan in response to the outbreak, Leishenshan Hospital, will be handed over to the army on Feb. 5 and put into operation on Feb. 6, according to the report. Leishenshan Hospital is bigger, and can accomodate 1,300 coronavirus patients.

As with the Huoshenshan Hospital, the Leishenshan Hospital will also be guarded by soldiers and only receive patients arranged by Wuhan authorities.

A Prison?

On Feb. 2, state-run media and Chinese netizens shared photos and videos of the Huoshenshan Hospital.

From the released photos, the makeshift container rooms are compact and clean. Each patient’s room has a window facing the corridor, but the window is sealed by iron bars.

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An inside view of the Huoshenshan hospital in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, on February 2, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Next to the window is a small box, where food trays can be inserted. The box can be opened from the room and the corridor.

Inside the room, there are two doors: one is connected to an adjoining bathroom, and the other opens to a so-called “buffer room” where medical staff prepare their treatments. The buffer room has a hand washbasin and a door to the corridor.

On the other wall of the patient’s room is a large double door, but it cannot be opened from the inside.

Twitter is blocked inside China, but some use VPN software to circumvent the firewall. @Dubha3 said on Twitter on Feb. 2: “The Huoshenshan hospital is like a prison or cage. I’m worried that patients won’t be allowed to leave, before they [die and] are sent to a funeral house for cremation.”

Guyan Gonggong posted on Pincong, a Chinese social media platform, on Feb. 2: “The hospital is managed by the army, which means everything inside are military secrets. It’ll be a crime if somebody leaks it out.”

“Nobody can enter the military-managed areas freely. Family and friends [of the patients] won’t know if a person died inside,” Twitter user @Zhanyoutongmeng feared.

Pollution Concerns

Chinese netizens are also worried that construction of the facilities has polluted nearby water sources.

Huoshenshan Hospital is located on the bank of Zhiyin Lake, one of Wuhan’s freshwater sources. Although the hospital has wastewater integration equipment installed on Jan. 30, people are still worried whether the device can effectively filter biowaste and prevent the coronavirus from spreading into water sources.

Chinese media Economy Observer quoted Wuhan government officials on Jan. 25, who acknowledged that the hospital could be a potential pollution source to the Wuhan water supply system. They said they have contacted device suppliers to find the best wastewater treatment equipment for the hospital.