SCIO briefing on contributions of female workers on the frontline of epidemic control

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Li Shuyong, chairwoman of the Hubei Provincial Women's Federation

Yuan Yadong, head of the first and second medical teams sent by Hebei Province to assist Hubei 

Zhong Xiaofeng, head nurse at the ICU of the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital

Zhang Chunxiang, a sanitation worker at the Wuhan Development Zone

Liao Jun, a journalist with the Hubei Bureau of the Xinhua News Agency

Yang Xue, a volunteer 

Chairperson: Shou Xiaoli, Information Bureau of the State Council Information Office 

Date: March 8, 2020

Shou Xiaoli:

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the third press conference held in Wuhan by the State Council Information Office. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many women workers have been at the frontline fighting the virus day and night. They are daughters, wives, mothers and the country's heroes. As we celebrate International Women's Day, we invite some of them to share their stories with you.

Let me introduce them one by one: Zhong Xiaofeng, head nurse of the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital; Yuan Yadong, head of the first and second medical teams sent by Hebei Province to assist Hubei and head of the Second Department of Pulmonology at the Second Hospital of Hebei Medical University; Li Shuyong, chairwoman of the Hubei Provincial Women's Federation; Liao Jun, a journalist with the Hubei Bureau of the Xinhua News Agency; Zhang Chunxiang, a sanitation worker at the Wuhan Development Zone; and Yang Xue, a volunteer. 

Now I'd like to invite them to introduce themselves. Let's begin with Ms. Zhong.

Zhong Xiaofeng:

Good afternoon. I am Zhong Xiaofeng, head nurse at the ICU of the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital, where I have worked for 16 years. After the outbreak of COVID-19, our hospital was among the first batch of designated hospitals to receive infected patients. All of my colleagues have worked tirelessly; I am just one of them. Over the past 60 days, we have fought at the frontline and spared no time taking care of our children and parents. But we never complain because saving more people is our mission and responsibility as doctors and nurses.  

The ICU is the last line of protection. Our work is to race against death and win, so no mistake is allowed. Many patients who were transferred to the ICU were too ill to communicate with us. But after our careful treatment, some of them could interact with us through eye contact or movement, which brought us relief and a great sense of accomplishment. 

Over the past two months, we have also felt the care and support from the whole society. I took a picture of my colleagues pushing a sickbed, which was reported by the media. A singer saw it and wrote the song Together With You. We were very happy and excited when we found out that the inspiration for the song was our photo. We are a well-trained team with strong fighting capacity. My colleagues and I will embrace hope and fight until victory over the epidemic. Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

The hospital Zhong works in is among the first batch of designated hospitals. Her ICU department guards the door between life and death. She and her colleagues shoulder big responsibilities to treat and cure patients. They also bear high risk of infection and high work intensity. It is our sincere hope that patients can fully recover and leave the hospitals and the epidemic can end as soon as possible with the efforts of all doctors and nurses like Zhong so that at that time, doctors and nurses can have a break. Thank you, Ms. Zhong. Doctor Yuan, please.  

Yuan Yadong:

Good afternoon. I am Yuan Yadong, a doctor from the Second Hospital of Hebei Medical University and also a member of the Hebei medical team assisting Hubei Province. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, over 40,000 medical workers from across the country have rushed to Hubei to fight the coronavirus epidemic, and I am one of them. On January 26, one day after the Spring Festival, I signed up voluntarily to be part of the medical team answering the call of the Hebei Provincial Government. Although I am nearly 60 years old, I still want to contribute my part as a respiratory physician.

The epidemic is so serious that we know it's a race against time. Every minute and every second matters to save more lives. A total of 150 medical professionals including me took an overnight train and arrived at the Wuchang Railway Station in Wuhan at 4:30 a.m. on January 27. We promptly took over the work of treating infected patients at Wuhan No.7 Hospital, seizing every minute to rescue more people.  

We were in charge of the medical care of four inpatient wards and also most of the work at the ICU and clinical laboratory with relatively high work intensity and risk of infection. We took care of about 190 hospitalized patients daily on average, with more than half of them showing severe symptoms or in critical condition. After 43 days of unremitting efforts, over 250 patients have been cured and discharged from the hospital. 

During the fight against the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the flu, as doctors of respiratory and critical medicine, my team and I have always been at the frontline. We embarked on our journey again shortly after the Spring Festival this year. Our only goal under our protective masks and isolation gowns is for every resident in China to be able to breathe freely again. We will continue to be the protectors of health and fulfill the mission with our expertise and dedication. 

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