SCIO briefing on stories of frontline workers fighting against COVID-19

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on Sunday afternoon in Wuhan, epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, to tell the stories of workers on the frontline of the epidemic prevention and control. February 24, 2020

Xi Yanchun:

Friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to this third press conference held by the State Council Information Office in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, numerous ordinary workers have dedicated themselves to the anti-virus battle with a sense of great solidarity, making a significant contribution towards containing the epidemic. Today, as the chief information outlet of the Chinese government we have invited five typical representatives to share their stories with you. They are Yu Ting, director of the Southern Fourth Ward at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital; Zhao Peiyu, leader of the nursing group of the medical team sent by China-Japan Friendship Hospital (in Beijing) to Hubei province; Zhang Xiaohong, director of Qiaokou Branch of Wuhan Municipal Public Security Bureau; Wu Hui, a deliveryman working in Wuhan; and Hua Yuchen, a music teacher at Ganghua Elementary School of Qingshan District in Wuhan. Each will first make some opening remarks.

Yu Ting:

Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Yu Ting. I'm the director in charge of the Southern Fourth Inpatient Ward of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, as well as a member of the Communist Party of China. On Dec. 29, 2019, our hospital gave instructions to establish a new isolation ward to combat the COVID-19 epidemic. For over 50 days, my team and I have been making strenuous efforts to fulfill our responsibilities. At present, there are six doctors and 20 nurses working on our ward. So far, we have received and treated nearly 200 COVID-19 patients, among whom 150 have been cured and discharged from the hospital.

What we face now is different from our previous work. Every day, we enter the isolation ward wearing airtight protective suits. The ward is packed with patients without any accompanying family members. Some elderly patients are even unable to take care of themselves. Every time we leave the ward bathed in sweat, with droplets upon our face masks. However, we will soon return to the intense work after quickly changing suits.

In the face of the epidemic, as medical workers, we are also under great pressure. We are afraid to return home. Some of us stay at the duty room, and others move into nearby hotels. By doing so, we can assemble immediately in case of any emergency; also, we can protect our families from COVID-19 infection. Our families worry about us constantly, but they always show their care and encouragement.

The prevention and control of the epidemic outbreak is currently at its most crucial stage. I believe that, with the concerted efforts of all our medical workers, we will be able to win the battle against the epidemic with great unity, mutual encouragement and strong confidence.

I always tell my team that, although we are all very tired, we must not be mentally exhausted or allow a spiritual collapse. Whenever we don this white uniform, we should always keep our noble mission firmly in mind, healing and saving lives with boundless love as a medical worker should always do.  

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you, Doctor Yu Ting. Your hard work is greatly appreciated. I know that you are in protective suit most of the time when you are working. Many patients may never see your face under the mask when they are fully recovered and discharged from the hospital. Here, I suggest that our friends from the media take a close-up image of Doctor Yu once again, especially for those recovered patients to see clearly the doctor who has cured them. Thanks again, Doctor Yu. Next, let's give the floor to Ms. Zhao Peiyu.

Zhao Peiyu:

Hello, everyone! I am Zhao Peiyu, head of the nursing group of the medical team sent by the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in support of Hubei province. I have been in Wuhan for 20 days. 

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the hospital organized the staff to register to provide support for Wuhan. Everyone responded actively. I remember that more than 930 nurses had signed up. Some people said they had experience in treating SARS. Some people said they are a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Some people said they do not have too much family burden. As a member of the CPC, I feel very proud of being a member of the medical team to make my own contribution to combating the epidemic. 

The hospital sent the best nursing team for treating respiratory diseases and critically-ill patients. We brought the best protective materials and living materials for comprehensive guarantee. In more than 20 days, we received more than 60 critically-ill patients. So far, 20 of them have recovered and been discharged from hospital after careful treatment and care. 

In the invisible war, we are not only angels in white, but also soldiers. We can provide the most professional care for the patients and treat them like family members. We are confident that we will be able to win this war. I want to tell the patient family that you can entrust your family members to us. Please rest assured. Thank you!

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you, Zhao Peiyu. How long have you been in Wuhan?

Zhao Peiyu:

20 days.

Xi Yanchun:

That's nearly three weeks, do you miss your family?

Zhao Peiyu:

To be honest, a little. 

Xi Yanchun: 

Is it possible for the camera to give a close-up to Ms. Zhao? She can take this opportunity to speak to her family and please let Ms. Zhao speak to their families on behalf of more than 30,000 medical workers offering support in Wuhan. 

Zhao Peiyu:

I want to tell my family that you can all rest assured. I am fine here in Wuhan, and the work is going well. I am part of a team of honor. We are undertaking an arduous mission and I believe we will successfully complete it. Rest assured. 

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you, Peiyu. Now, we give the floor to Zhang Xiaohong, director of the public security bureau of Qiaokou district of Wuhan. 

Zhang Xiaohong:

Hello, everyone! I am Zhang Xiaohong, head of the Qiaokou branch of Wuhan Municipal Public Security Bureau. At 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 23, I received an order from the municipal bureau to mobilize 300 police officers within two hours to be posted at Wuhan Tianhe Airport for traffic regulation. At that moment, I realized that the battle against the novel coronavirus had started in Wuhan.

In the course of over one month, 1,500 police officers from our Qiaokou branch have worked around the clock at various traffic points, communities and hospitals, ensuring public security and providing services for people's convenience. In this fight without smoke, we have, without a single word of complaint, taken each and every order from the municipal and provincial bureaus and fulfilled their assigned tasks conscientiously. There is a popular slogan in our branch, saying, "My participation makes the victory a sure thing." I am deeply proud of all my heroic colleagues. Thanks to all of them.

Xi Yanchun:

During my talk with Mr. Zhang, he said a lot about his colleagues, about their tireless and patiently quiet work. There will be more time later for story sharing. At this moment, let me express gratitude on behalf of the people to all the police officers. Thank you all! Now, I would like to give the floor to Mr. Wu Hui.

Wu Hui:

Hello, everyone! My name is Wu Hui. I am known as "Laoji" on the internet. I am a deliveryman in Wuhan. I have a special feeling for this city because I spent four years studying here. Last July, I came back to work as a deliveryman.

It was said that there would be more online orders during the Spring Festival. So, I planned to keep working during the holiday to make more money. However, as the epidemic got worse, I felt scared and decided to have a break starting from Jan. 24. That night, I was scrolling through the Weibo feed while eating my hot pot dinner. Knowing that some front-line medical workers could only have instant noodles for their dinner, I felt so upset that I thought I should do something. Then, I decided to continue working during the holiday.

My first order on the first day of the Lunar New Year took me to the Respiratory Medicine Department at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University. I was really nervous, actually. Not until I got there and saw that everything was going on in an orderly way, did I finally calm down. Since then, I have received various kinds of orders, met various people and at the same time been touched by various heartwarming moments. After sharing all those moments on my Weibo account, I received support and encouragement from numerous netizens across the country. Because of such support and encouragement, together with the help from a growing number of deliverymen, I no longer have any fear.

Gradually, I found that a new meaning has been embedded in the work of deliverymen. We have become the "ferrymen" to maintain the smooth running of the city. I believe that Wuhan will never be alone as long as we stay here.

Xi Yanchun:

Thanks, Wu Hui. His username on the internet is "Laoji." Deliverymen like Wu, as well as those sanitation workers, are ordinary people that we frequently see but tend to pay little heed to. Although we seldom pay attention to what they look like, they have definitely contributed a lot in a quiet way to the smooth running of the city. Thank you, Wu Hui. Now let's welcome our last speaker Hua Yuchen, a post-90s girl.

Hua Yuchen: 

Good afternoon! My name is Hua Yuchen. I'm a music teacher from Ganghua Primary School in Qingshan District, Wuhan City. I'm also a post-90s Wuhan native.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic in my hometown, I've paid close attention to it and been very worried. However, I'm neither a doctor who can save lives at the frontline nor someone who has resources to supply. Being an ordinary citizen, especially an ordinary young man in the city, I'm very eager to make my own contribution and therefore I signed up as a volunteer.

Just like other volunteers, I go to work wherever needed. I once served as a driver picking up medical staff, a body temperature measurer at a toll station, a porter moving supplies, and now I'm a volunteer broadcaster at the Qingshan Improvised Hospital.

Every day we broadcast music, proses and related news about progress of the treatment so as to relieve patient stress. Though I'm not a professional broadcaster, I try to do my very best every time. For example, on Feb. 14, I said: "Maybe we're not the people whose company you want the most, but we are staying here together now. So, I call on everyone to smile at the people around you and give them your best wishes. Let's show our gratitude to the medical staff. Let's all promise to recover as early as possible and go home together."

Though I did not know their responses and facial expressions due to the wall between us, afterwards I heard that they had truly encouraged each other. I thought what I did was meaningful since I brought warmth to others and also myself. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you. Your words move me very much. I know that volunteers are of different ages. Many of them are the elderly, and there are also many young people. So, we truly hope more people can join the volunteer group.

Now, this is the end of the first part of this press conference. Now, we'll take questions from the press. Once again, we'll use video connection. Before asking your questions, please inform us the media organization you represent. Now let's begin.

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