By YUTAKA SUZUKI/ Staff Writer
May 17, 2020 at 07:00 JST
Prefabricated shelters are proving to be the ideal solution to a shortage of facilities around the nation to isolate COVID-19 patients.
Called EZ Dome House, the kits can be set up within 90 minutes. They occupy a space about the size of two average cars.
The domed shelters have already been introduced at hospitals in Tokyo and Yamanashi Prefecture, and are now gaining attention as the spread of the novel coronavirus claims victims at medical centers across Japan.
“The dome structure can be washed and a building confirmation application does not need to be submitted,” said Shinichi Tanigawa, head of the publicity and marketing department of Whitehouse Co., the developer of EZ Dome House. “We hope it will be used to stop the medical care system from collapsing.”
Measuring 3.3 meters in diameter and 2.6 meters in height, the round prefab has outer walls made of high-density polyethylene panels to not only better withstand rainfall but also improve soundproof and heat-retention features.
The interior is the size of four and a half tatami mats, allowing leeway to accommodate a bed and other medical devices for patients. While the standard model has one entrance and three windows, a door can be added for better ventilation.
EZ Dome House can readily be installed in and removed from parking lots and elsewhere.
The prefab buildings are marketed for 780,000 yen ($7,310), excluding tax and a delivery fee, by TCL, a subsidiary of Whitehouse, a Nagoya-based imported car and auto goods retailer.
The company, headed by Fumio Kimura, said they became available last November.
Although EZ Dome House was initially pitched as a refuge during natural disasters and other emergencies, inquiries from medical institutions have been pouring in since late February as the virus spread.
Clinics and hospitals that use the shelter say it allows them to examine and diagnose those who visit with a fever by isolating them from other patients.
Whitehouse is promoting its dedicated shelters to municipal governments as a means to isolate COVID-19 patients in the event a natural disaster strikes that generates a flood of evacuees during the pandemic.
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