Chinese GP circuit converted into hospital amid COVID-19 spike

The Shanghai International Circuit has been converted into a temporary medical facility in the wake of the latest rise of COVID-19 cases.

The Shanghai International Circuit, which has hosted numerous Chinese GPs, has been converted into a makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients as China tries to deal with its latest surge.

In the last month, the seven-day average of new cases in the origin country of the virus has risen by over 24,000.

For context, the average had risen by just 119 in the entire year prior to 19 February 2022, before the sudden rise in cases began to appear later on that month.

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As of 20 April, there are 4,648 recorded deaths in the country as a result of the virus, and with the meteoric rise in cases, that figure will, unfortunately, inevitably rise with it.

The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix was the first to be officially cancelled due to the global pandemic caused by the disease, and there is no official confirmation as to when or if the race in Shanghai will return to the calendar.

For now though, the facilities at the track have been converted into a makeshift hospital, and 14,000 beds have been placed in the complex to help with the major influx of COVID patients.

The 5.4 kilometre circuit is just under 24 miles – or a 43-minute drive – away from the Shanghai city centre – making it a reasonably accessible place to take patients when hospitals in the city eventually become saturated.

The track, which has played host to all 16 Chinese Grand Prix, is not the first to be utilised as an emergency facility.

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Having held the Eifel Grand Prix in 2020, the pit lane at the Nürburgring in Germany was converted into a base camp for emergency services who heroically fought off the flood in 2021 that predominantly hit the Rhineland, Palatinate and North Rhine-Westpahlia regions of the country and also trickled into Belgium and the Netherlands.

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico, much like Shanghai, also served as a hospital in 2020 when racing was suspended in the country due to the pandemic.