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Shipping-Container ICUs Could Fight COVID-19

AS NATIONAL governments around the world race to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by introducing social distancing measures and increasing the capacity of their healthcare systems, Italian architects Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota have proposed re-using shipping containers as intensive care units. 

Ratti and Rota are currently building the first prototype unit in Milan and are working to make the system available as quickly as possible.

Above and Below: Each unit would be able to treat two intensive care patients (image courtesy of Squint / Opera).

Dubbed “Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments” – or CURA, the Latin word for cure - these pods could be mass-produced and quickly dispatched around the world to cities that are facing a critical shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds. 

Above: The units could be easily assembled next to existing hospitals (image courtesy of Squint / Opera).

The benefit of re-using these containers over other temporary structures - such as traditional hospital tents - is their high level of biocontainment.

The units will be constructed with a highly sophisticated ventilation system that generates negative pressure inside, preventing contaminated air from escaping.

All the units are being designed to adhere to the Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs) standards.

Above: Each unit would be fitted with ventilators (image courtesy of Squint / Opera).

Each unit will be fully self-sufficient and contain enough equipment to treat two patients with COVID-19.

The units can also be connected to others via an inflatable structure, allowing them to be extended from existing hospitals or arranged into bespoke configurations.

Above: Units could be linked together in multiple configurations (image courtesy of Squint / Opera).

The proposal comes as many countries around the world work to increase the capacity of their healthcare systems to accommodate the peak of COVID-19 cases.

The UK is completing work on the 4,000 bed temporary NHS Nightingale hospital in London's ExCel centre while Russia is constructing 16 new hospitals from scratch.

The moves by other nations follow China's rapid construction of hospitals in Wuhan, where the virus originated, back in February. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, please follow your national government's advice and stay home.



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