Madrid dismantles its Covid-19 field hospital, a symbol of the pandemic
Madrid, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Workers began to dismantle the gigantic field hospital on the outskirts of Madrid on Thursday, a site that became the symbol of the vicious Covid-19 pandemic in the Spanish capital, the country’s worst-hit region.
While the main structure of the makeshift medical center will be taken down piece by piece, authorities have decided to leave the subterranean oxygen and ventilation pipes in place in case the hospital, built at the sprawling Ifema convention center, is required again in the future.
The Ifema field hospital stopped admitting patients by 1 May. It had been home to 5,500 beds as authorities looked to soften soften the impact of Covid-19 on the overflowing wards and intensive care units in the city’s hospitals at the height of the outbreak.
Javier Marco, the medical director at the site, told Efe that the process of removing the field hospital should be completed by 1 July, when the expo complex will be able to resume its activities.
The field hospital occupied two of the cavernous pavilions at the Ifema center, located to the northeast of central Madrid. Workers are now dismantling the equipment and medical installations and packaging them in a way that will allow it to be rebuilt at speed in the case of another outbreak.
As well as the oxygen pipes, the plumbing and electrical circuits installed for the hospital will also remain in place, Marco added.
He said that the field hospital, which has been likened to the Noah’s Ark hospital in Wuhan, the presumed origin of Covid-19, could be reassembled in 48-72 hours.
“This is reassuring,” he added.
For the medical director, the dismantling of the Ifema hospital shows that “these terrible times have passed, we hope they don’t return, and that if they do, they’re not as harsh.”
“We have to be well prepared when it comes to infrastructure and material, so if it comes again we’re ready.”
The field hospital got up and running on 21 March, just days after Spain implemented a national lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, which was severely testing the country’s already over-stretched public health system.
Medical staff treated around 4,000 patients at the complex, most of whom had been referred from hospitals in the city.