The 13,000-capacity Hongsham Gymnasium is one of a number of sports facilities in China’s Hubei Province that are being converted into makeshift hospitals as the country attempts to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.
The arena – which is located in the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak – is one of the region’s most prominent sports venues, having hosted numerous high-profile basketball and volleyball contests.
Hongsham Gymnasium (pictured) was a host arena for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 2011 Asia Championship and the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup. It also staged an esports event as part of the 2017 League of Legends World Championship.
It has also been reported that the 54,000-capacity Wuhan Sports Center Stadium, located in the same complex, is also in the process of being converted into a hospital.
The Xinhua state-run news agency reported yesterday (Tuesday) evening that local authorities were transforming another eight venues across the province into temporary healthcare centres. Without disclosing the identities of the facilities, the authorities said that they would include sports centres.
The report added that work towards converting Hongshan Gymnasium, as well as the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center and the Wuhan Living Room cultural facility, started on Monday.
Once the work has been carried out – perhaps as early as today – the 11 converted facilities will be able to provide beds for more than 10,000 patients suffering from the Coronavirus.
According to the local authority’s latest figures, there have been 8,351 confirmed cases of the virus in Wuhan. The latest estimates are that there are around three times as many confirmed cases worldwide.