Nine temporary hospitals with more than 6,960 beds have opened in China's Hubei province to treat patients infected with the coronavirus, a senior official with the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Saturday.
A total of 5,606 patients were receiving treatment in these hospitals currently, Xinhua news agency quoted Wang Hesheng, deputy head of the NHC, as saying at a press conference in the provincial capital of Wuhan, also the epicentre of the outbreak.
The temporary hospitals were converted from existing venues, including gymnasiums and exhibition centres.
Meanwhile, the first two planned makeshift hospitals in Wuhan -- Huoshenshan and Leishenshan -- have been treating patients since they opened earlier this month.
The Huoshenshan hospital was completed in record 10-days.
Wang also said that the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak was currently at its most crucial stage in China, while Wuhan still remains the main battlefield.
"In an effort to lower the infection rate, Hubei province, especially Wuhan, will strengthen prevention and control forces at the community level and promote targeted management so as to enable the communities to serve as a strong fortress against the epidemic."
In another announcement, NHC official Jiao Yahui said that up to 30 to 39 per cent of patients have been discharged from two of Wuhan's main hospitals that take in severe cases, including the Jinyintan Hospital.
For severe and critically ill patients, anti-virus treatment, together with combining traditional Chinese and Western medicine and supportive treatments, such as the use of ventilator, blood plasma from recovered patients and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), have shown effect, Jiao told the media here.
"Recently, we have been urging doctors to use ECMO at an early stage to help restore patients' blood oxygen saturation and reduce fatalities," Jiao said.