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Berlin to build 1,000-bed coronavirus hospital

March 17, 2020

The German capital has approved the plans ahead of an expected spike in COVID-19 infections. The armed forces are to be drafted in to help create the facility, which will treat many of the most serious cases.

Deserted Brandenburg Gate
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken

The Berlin government said on Tuesday it would create a new hospital to cope with a likely huge increase in coronavirus cases.

The facility, which will house up to 1,000 patients, will be set up in the Berlin Messe trade fair exhibition grounds in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district of the German capital.

The hospital will be built with the help of the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr.

No further details on the exact location or the deadline for completion were given.

The project was approved by the Senate, the executive body for the city and state of Berlin, who said the facility should only be used if other medical facilities are overrun.

The new hospital is expected to treat both relatively minor coronavirus cases as well as emergency respiratory patients.

Berlin prepares for bottlenecks

"This measure complements the well-positioned Berlin hospital system to deal with possible bottlenecks," said Berlin Health Senator Dilek Kalayci following the approval.

She added that other hospitals in Berlin would expand their services to treat those coronavirus patients requiring ventilation in intensive care.

Kalayci added that hospitals in the city would now begin postponing other scheduled surgeries to prepare to treat more patients struck down with COVID-19.

Could we run out of medicine?

On Tuesday, Berlin already counted 332 coronavirus cases out of more than 7,500 infections across Germany. The country has seen a rise of 1,500 cases since Monday. Twenty people have died so far.

500 hospitalized so far

The German Hospital Federation (DKG) says around 500 people in the country are currently undergoing hospital treatment for SARS-CoV-2

Officials expect a much higher volume of people to require hospitalization in the next few months.

Germany has announced strict measures to try to contain the pandemic and ensure the country's health sector can cope.

Schools have been shut across most of the country, border controls have been tightened and new restrictions put on public and social spaces. Companies are being urged to offer employees remote work.

mm/ng (dpa, epd)