Epicenter Wuhan going all out to battle against novel coronavirus

By People’s Daily

China is tightening its measures in every possible way to combat the novel coronavirus.

A staff member takes temperature of a customer at the entrance of a supermarket in Hankou, central China’s Hubei province, Jan. 31, 2020, the 7th day of the Lunar New Year. (Photo by Zhou Guoqiang/People’s Daily)

On Jan. 23, two days before the Chinese New Year, the epicenter Wuhan, a megacity in central China’s Hubei province was locked down.

From 10:00 a.m. that day, all public transportation, including city buses, subways, ferries and long-distance coaches in the city have been suspended, and outbound channels at airports and railway stations have also been closed temporarily.

Citizens should not leave the city without legitimate reasons, according to a notice issued in the wee hours of Jan. 23 by Wuhan’s headquarters for the control and treatment of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

Wuhan, known for its wide transportation connection since ancient time, lost its lively atmosphere, and because of the virus, the life of the 9 million residents there has changed. However, the city is still working hard to bring people’s life back to normal.

On the first night of the lockdown, a newly recruited nurse of Tongji Hospital affiliated to Huazhong University of Science & Technology in Wuhan volunteered to serve at the fever clinic of the hospital.

Photo taken on Jan. 31, 2020 shows buildings in Wuhan illuminated with slogans to boost confidence for the city amid the fight against the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Li Changlin/People’s Daily)

“I can stay here during the Spring Festival holiday and please let me work at the fever clinic,” said the nurse who cancelled her wedding ceremony that had been scheduled days later.

Li Lanping is a sanitation worker in Wuhan. When Wuhan announced the lockdown, she was cleaning Luogui Road. Li said she got up at 4:00 a.m. that day, and was busy sweeping the road and dumping trash cans until 8:00 a.m. She said that in the face of the epidemic, sanitation workers mustn’t stop working, adding that “people won’t catch the disease when the environment is clean.”

Traffic police officer Liu Wuqiao was another one in Wuhan who remained at post at the critical time. Wuchang Railway Station, which is under Liu’s operation jurisdiction, is the southern gate of Wuhan, as well as one of the biggest transport hubs in central China.

Liu said the empty roads and train station were strange to him, but to reduce population flow at this critical moment is needed. The officer told People’s Daily that his department must be on duty whether there are people or not. According to him, he and his colleagues would take the temperature of every passing passengers so as to safeguard the health of the city.

Staff members check medical materials for epidemic prevention and control in Badali community in Jianghan district, Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province. The community has opened a counter supplying epidemic prevention and control materials, and arranged staff to deliver the materials to the residents in need. (Photo by Li Changlin/People’s Daily)

At 10:00 a.m. Jan. 24, one day after Wuhan was sealed off, the street was empty. However, Hema, an Alibaba supermarket located on Zhangzhidong Road, Wuchang district, was frequently visited by consumers.

Qiu Jun, a resident living in the neighborhood said he went there to buy some fruits and vegetables as his family was preparing a dinner to celebrate the eve of the Chinese New Year. “The vegetables are in sufficient supply and abundant variety, and their prices are as usual,” Qiu said.

“Guaranteeing supplies to Wuhan is a priority at present. We are doing all we can to ensure a stable supply of vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy products. We also provide disposable masks and antibacterial hand sanitizers for free at our market,” said a manager of Hema, who introduced that commodity supply of the market has been brought back to normal after the government pledged efforts to sustain continuous supply of necessities.

On Jan. 24, the first group of 135 medical workers from hospitals in Shanghai arrived in Wuhan via a high-speed train. So far, more than 8,310 medical staff from 68 medical teams in 29 provinces (including autonomous regions and municipalities) and the armed forces have come to Hubei. They are all elite experts and excellent nursing teams from the respiratory, infectious, and intensive medicine departments.

Starting from Jan. 26, Wuhan has banned non-essential vehicles in downtown area to further contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Only free transportation vehicles, government vehicles, and authorized vehicles carrying supplies are allowed to hit the road.

The city has designated 6,000 taxies to communities in downtown area, and each community is served by three to five taxies. Since the noon of Jan. 25, the taxis started free service for the residents.

Under the management of local residents’ committees, these taxis are mainly used to offer rides for medics and fevered local residents. In addition, they also provide services such as delivering meals, vegetables and medicine for those with difficulty going out.

Community is the first line of defense in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Duowen residential community is one in Jianghan district where many old residential complexes locate with frequent flow of people.

From Jan. 28, Tian Lin, a community cadre in Duowen, made phone calls to every registered household to check if they have developed fever symptoms and visited each household to see whether the fevered residents have received treatment and which hospital they went to. Tian also asked the patients to present their diagnostic reports and reported the information to the authorities in a timely manner.

To cope with emergencies, community cadres are on duty 24 hours a day, answering calls at any time and responding to emergencies.

On Jan. 29, a resident named Luo Juan living in Jiqing community, Jiang’an district was put under isolation after she developed a fever, which worried the woman very much as her child was left home alone unattended.

Learning Luo’s situation while screening fevered residents in the community, the neighborhood committee immediately started taking special care for Luo’s son, and arranged two personnel to deliver meals to the boy in shifts. Besides packed meals, they also provided the child with milk and snacks.

To ensure sound ventilation, the two personnel opened the doors and windows of Luo’s house on a regular basis. They also took temperature of the 7-year-old boy every time before they left.

Over the past few days, Hu Mingrong, secretary of the Party Committee of Jiangxinyuan community in Hanyang district has been working with community workers to screen residents with fever and help patients receive treatment.

They delivered meals and medicines to the elderly living alone, suspected patients, unattended children and people with mobility impairments. Besides, Hu would also make appointments and arrange transfers for residents who need to be sent to fever clinics and designated hospitals for further examination and treatment.

“We must firmly stand our ground, and be the guardians of our residents. We can definitely defeat the epidemic as long as all 1,287 communities in Wuhan have held their positions,” Hu said.