Yet more hospitals are being constructed at a rapid pace, and health workers are being recruited in large numbers to avoid the collapse of the health sector.
Hospitals all over the world remain overwhelmed with the heavy inflow of Covid-19 positive patients, and governments are now taking emergency measures to avoid the total collapse of their health systems.
As well as imposing lockdowns and travel restrictions, governments are allocating more funds to increase the capacity of the sectors that look after their health.
Given that so many deaths in Europe were caused by the shortage of Intensive Care Units (ICUs), its various governments are now racing to set up more as a result, as well as strengthening bed and ventilator capacities and hiring an increasing number of trained health workers.
Spanish authorities inaugurated the Isabel Zenda pandemic hospital in Madrid on Tuesday.
“This will be a breath of fresh air for our healthcare workers,” said the project’s mastermind, Madrid Premier Isabel Diaz Ayuso. “From today, Madrid and all of Spain has a new world-class hospital.”
The hospital cost €100 million ($120 million) to build – more than double the original budget. Constructed in just over three months near Spain’s largest airport, it will eventually have more than 1,000 beds and 48 intensive care units (ICUs).
It is 80,000 square metres (262,000 square feet) – around the size of Buckingham Palace.
However, a protest was organised during the opening ceremony, one in which demonstrators were photographed carrying signs reading “more staff, fewer bricks”, “hospital for politicians,” and “enough precarious working conditions.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, Italy converted an exhibition centre in Milan into the country’s largest intensive care facility for coronavirus patients. It went up in 10 days.
The Italian government is also working to complete a new hospital for the city of Taranto; it is expected to be finished far quicker than originally planned.
In early May, Germany opened an emergency field hospital in Berlin despite the capital's hospitals being sufficient for treating its coronavirus patients.
The German hospital will serve as a “reserve hospital” for the pandemic.
Romania also signed a $14.25 million contract with a Turkish mobile hospital provider to build its own field hospital comprising 103 intensive care beds and 143 semi-intensive care beds.
The Chinese built a hospital, dedicated to treating people infected with Covid 19, in just eight days in Wuhan, the city that was the epicentre of the outbreak in February. The country has also converted some buildings into hospitals.
Russia began building 16 hospitals in March as the coronavirus spread around the country. The Russian army has involved construction projects in order to have them completed as soon as possible.
Despite claiming no coronavirus cases, Turkmenistan opened a new facility last month for infectious diseases.
The Turkmen leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, said: “As a result of the preventive measures taken, no cases of coronavirus infection have been registered in the country to date.”
The new hospital has a 200-bed capacity that can treat “viral hepatitis, infectious diseases of the upper respiratory tract… and diseases transmitted by airborne droplets,” according to the country’s state newspaper.
Turkey has finished two major emergency hospitals in Istanbul after the number of coronavirus patients surged in the country.
However, Turkey has long been investing its health infrastructures by building city hospitals.
Last month, its 13th was inaugurated in the northwestern Tekirdag province.
Built as part of the countrywide City Hospitals Project carried out with public-private partnership, the Tekirdag City Hospital has a total of 566 beds, 124 outpatient clinics, 18 operating rooms, and 102 beds in the intensive care unit.
Under the City Hospitals Project, the first hospital was opened in Mersin in 2017, then Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa and other major cities have followed in the last three years.
Rest of the world
Other projects have been carried out and completed in the rest of the world.
For example, Rhode Island in America, has opened two field hospitals this week that, combined, have more than 900 beds to offer. Hospitalisations of patients suffering with Covid-19 in the state have recently reached a new high.
Both field hospitals will take patients who are not critically ill.
Morocco is planning to upgrade its existing hospitals and will build new ones in the Fez-Meknes region.
The European Union (EU), Japan, Canada and Australia are all running rapid vaccine regulatory processes, and they have all said their first stocks would go to the elderly and vulnerable and frontline workers.
Notwithstanding the landmark manufacturing of vaccines that is now underway, positive cases are still breaking records around the world.
It seems hospitals will have to manage their workload for a while yet, not least because it will take more than a year to vaccinate a considerable population in the world.