A pop-up emergency department dedicated to treating coronavirus patients will be established in Woden under a partnership between the ACT government and Canberra-based health services firm Aspen Medical.
The $23 million project will be announced on Thursday as part of the government's second economic support package to help territory households and businesses through the coronavirus crisis.
It comes as Chief Minister Andrew Barr conceded the pandemic had all but dashed hopes that a new sports stadium or convention centre could be delivered in the next five years.
Launching the next phase of its fight against the twin health and economic crisis' sparked by coronavirus, the government has committed funding to establish a temporary emergency department to treat patients with "moderate to severe" cases of COVID-19.
The facility, which was expected to have approximately 50 beds, was expected to open in May.
It was expected to be established on or next to the Canberra Hospital campus, although an exact location has yet to be chosen.
Mr Barr said the project was aimed at preventing a repeat of horror scenes in cities overseas, where health authorities have raced to set up makeshift hospitals after being overwhelmed with patients.
"We don't want to be in the sort of situation other cities around the world are currently in," he said.
"We are acting now to increase the capacity of our health services so we can continue to provide emergency care for Canberrans throughout this pandemic."
Aspen Medical, which was on the frontline during the Ebola outbreak, has also been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
The company, helmed by Glenn Keys, has been helping the federal government roll out respiratory clinics across Australia.
It was also called in to provide health checks to passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was forced to dock in Japan following a COVID-19 outbreak where more than 600 people were infected with the virus.
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the company had "world-leading" experience in the emergency health sector.
The extra funding and support measures to be unveiled on Thursday comes on top of the ACT government's $137 million package announced on March 20.
Since then, the federal government has come forward with more economic support for Australian businesses and workers, headlined by the massive $130 billion "JobKeeper" program.
Foreshadowing the release of the second phase of the ACT's plan, Mr Barr on Wednesday said the territory would aim to "fill any gaps" for households and businesses waiting to receive assistance.
He was again frank about the economic realities of the situation, warning that "no one is going to come out of this ahead".
"We are all going to lose financially," he said.
Mr Barr indicated the ACT would need to take on more debt to pay for the fight against coronavirus, as revenue had "collapsed".
He conceded the financial hit from the pandemic would have implications for some of the government's long-planned infrastructure projects, such as a new sports stadium and convention centre.
"A convention centre would seem a long way away at the moment, and so would a football stadium," he said.
"We will need some projects when we move into the economic recovery phase, but how many we will do and the size of them remains to be seen.
"It's too early to give a definitive answers, but in the context of what may be needed in the next five years, I think if you're pinning your hopes on the ACT government or the federal government being able to partner to fund convention centres or sport stadiums .... no, I wouldn't have thought so."
Mr Barr stressed the SPIRE hospital project was "absolutely essential" and would be delivered, while light rail's expansion to Woden was next on the priority list.
On Thursday, the ACT Legislative Assembly will sit for the first and only time this week, primarily so it can pass legislation to support the government's response to coronavirus.
The main item - the COVID-19 Emergency Response Bill 2020 - includes amendments to almost 20 pieces of legislation.
Opposition leader Alistair Coe said the Liberals would push for "transparency measures to ensure that ACT government decisions throughout this period are proportionate and can be appropriately examined".
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