Fangcang hospital

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Fangcang hospital
Ta Zi Hu Ti Yu Zhong Xin Gai Zao De Fang Cang Yi Yuan 07.jpg
A fangcang hospital in Wuhan in February 2020
Type Makeshift hospital
Lists Hospitals in China

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.


History and usage

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 pandemic

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 Wuhan

The sixteen Fangcang Hospitals in Wuhan Fangcang Hospitals, Huoshenshan Hospital and Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan.svg
The sixteen Fangcang Hospitals in Wuhan

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

Outside Mainland China

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

In Singapore, isolation facilities which were repurposed existing large-scale facilities, like the Singapore Expo, are partially modelled after the Fangcang hospital design. [23]

See also

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