Fangcang hospital

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Fangcang hospital (Chinese: 方舱医院; pinyin: fāngcāng yīyuàn; lit. 'square-cabin hospital')[1] refers to a kind of makeshift/mobile field hospitals notably used during the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, Hubei, China.

Fangcang hospital
塔子湖体育中心改造的方舱医院 07.jpg
A fangcang hospital in Wuhan in February 2020
TypeMakeshift hospital
ListsHospitals in China

History and usageEdit

Such hospitals were intended for large-scale medical isolation and instituted either by establishing rapidly constructed modular/portable buildings, or through the acquisition of indoor space within existing venues and even temporarily renovated gyms and dorms in colleges and universities with enclosed cubicles to assist social distancing.

Chinese literature has mentioned the concept of "medical Fangcang" as early as 1989.[2] China has constructed fangcang hospitals during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and 2010 Yushu earthquake.[3][4]

COVID-19 pandemicEdit

In Wuhan, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, general medical institutions and the newly expanded pneumonia specialist hospital were overwhelmed by the sudden surge in hospital bed demands by suspected COVID-19 cases.[5] Many patients with existing conditions were also turned away, leading to deaths which were otherwise preventable.[6][7] Authorities were criticized by experts and citizens alike.[6] Meanwhile, the large number of low-severity cases — almost all are individuals with suspected or mild symptoms — still needed at least a fortnight of isolation (due to the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2).

Officials decided against home isolation for mild to moderate cases, as home isolation is not always properly complied with and it was difficult to organize medical care and monitoring for those in isolation. Furthermore, home isolation could be psychologically taxing on the patients as the patients know that they are putting their family members at risk of infection.[8] On the other hand, in-hospital isolation will hold up medical resources and increase the risk of nosocomial exposure. Under such circumstances, the principle of centralized low-level care management of non-critical patients was adopted. The Government of the People's Republic of China established 16 fangcang hospitals in Wuhan, providing a total of more than 20,000 beds.[9][10][11]

As of March 10, 2020, all patients admitted to the square cabin hospital of Wuhan Wushan Hongshan Stadium were discharged. Thus, all 16 fangcang hospitals in Wuhan completed their missions and their cabins were shut down.[12]


Fangcang (simplified Chinese: 方舱; traditional Chinese: 方艙; pinyin: fāngcāng), literally meaning "square cabin", is a Chinese term referring to a portable modular building structure formed using a combination of various solid materials, most notably cargotectures. The concept of "Fangcang" was borrowed from military field hospitals,[13] which was initially introduced by the United States military, who has been making makeshift structures since the 1950s.[14]

Outside of the context of the outbreak, makeshift or Fangcang structures can refer to many kinds of modular structures.[14]

Locations in WuhanEdit

The sixteen Fangcang Hospitals in Wuhan

The following Fangcang hospitals were in use in Wuhan during the COVID-19 pandemic:[15]

Outside Mainland ChinaEdit

The first comparable makeshift hospital built during Russia's outbreak was built at Golokhvastovo in suburban Moscow in March 2020.[18][19] Similar makeshift hospitals were successively built in countries including Iran, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.[20][21][22][23]

In Singapore, isolation facilities which were repurposed existing large-scale facilities, like the Singapore Expo, are partially modelled after the Fangcang hospital design.[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wuhan Vlog: A look into a mobile cabin hospital on YouTube
  2. ^ 王益群,顾正明.军用方舱简介[J].系统工程与电子技术,1989(01):66-68.
  3. ^ 新华社. "解放军第一所野战方舱医院18日在绵阳南郊展开". 中国政府网. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  4. ^ 新华网. "回良玉到玉树地震灾区考察 强调抗震救灾进入新阶段". 中华人民共和国外交部驻香港特别行政区特派员公署. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  5. ^ "In one Wuhan hospital, long lines, fear and frustration". TODAYonline. AFP. Archived from the original on 21 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b Shih, Gerry. "In China's 'war' on coronavirus, hospitals turn away other patients — with dire results". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-03-13.
  7. ^ Qin, Amy; Wee, Sui-Lee (2020-03-03). "'No Way Out': In China, Coronavirus Takes Toll on Other Patients (Published 2020)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-13.
  8. ^ Chen, Simiao; Zhang, Zongjiu; Yang, Juntao; Wang, Jian; Zhai, Xiaohui; Bärnighausen, Till; Wang, Chen (18 April 2020). "Fangcang shelter hospitals: a novel concept for responding to public health emergencies". The Lancet. 395 (10232): 1305–1314. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30744-3. ISSN 0140-6736. PMC 7270591. PMID 32247320. Early epidemiological evidence in China showed that more than half of all patients with COVID-19 had at least one family member with the disease, and 75–80% of all clustered infections were within families, suggesting high rates of intrafamily transmission.
  9. ^ 武汉方舱医院增至12家 计划启用床位超两万张-新华网. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  10. ^ Yu, Verna (2020-02-18). "Senior Wuhan doctor dies from coronavirus as authorities start to 'round up' patients". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2020-04-23. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  11. ^ hermesauto (2020-02-21). "Coronavirus: Wuhan to build 19 more makeshift hospitals as China struggles to contain epidemic". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  12. ^ "Wuhan to ease lockdown as world battles virus". BBC News. 2020-03-24. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  13. ^ Wang, Bing-nan; Cheng, Zheng-xiang (2012). "Development and Prospects of Mobile Field Hospital". Chinese Medical Equipment Journal (in Chinese). 33: 92–96.
  14. ^ a b 冀, 中仁 (2012). "追根溯源话方舱". 中国军转民 (in Chinese) (9th): 43–47.
  15. ^ Fang, Dongping; Pan, Shengjie; Li, Zaishang; Yuan, Ting; Jiang, Benran; Gan, Di; Sheng, Bai; Han, Jing; Wang, Tao; Liu, Zhongmin (June 2020). "Large-scale public venues as medical emergency sites in disasters: lessons from COVID-19 and the use of Fangcang shelter hospitals in Wuhan, China". BMJ Global Health. 5 (6): e002815. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2020-002815. PMC 7298718. PMID 32546589.
  16. ^ 武汉谌家矶"方舱医院"即将完工 新添3840张床位_腾讯新闻. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-02-20.
  17. ^ 武汉首家方舱医院"休舱" 康复者均已出院. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  18. ^ 俄罗斯也开始在莫斯科建方舱医院了. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  19. ^ "Moscow Workers Race to Finish 'Chinese-Inspired' Virus Hospital". The Moscow Times. 21 March 2020.
  20. ^ 学习中国经验!总台记者独家探访伊朗版"方舱医院". Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  21. ^ 肺炎疫情全球确诊30万 西班牙开设方舱医院. BBC News 中文 (in Simplified Chinese). 2020-03-22. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  22. ^ 英国版方舱医院准备建设. Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  23. ^ 从纽约到德黑兰,全球多地建起"方舱医院". Archived from the original on 2020-04-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  24. ^ Chia, Ming Li; Him Chau, Dickson Hong; Lim, Kheng Sit; Yang Liu, Christopher Wei; Tan, Hiang Khoon; Tan, Yan Ru (2020-09-17). "Managing COVID-19 in a Novel, Rapidly Deployable Community Isolation Quarantine Facility". Annals of Internal Medicine. 174 (2): 247–251. doi:10.7326/M20-4746. ISSN 0003-4819. PMC 7505018. PMID 32941059.

Further readingEdit