“I kept working at the hospital during the just-concluded Spring Festival holidays, now there are only a few COVID-19 patients in the pulmonology department,” said Zhu Biao, a 30-year-old doctor in Huangshan City, east China’s Anhui Province.
Unity of 1.4 billion people
Zhu is just one of many Chinese people who have dedicated their efforts to minimize the impact that COVID-19 pandemic could have on the world’s most populated country.
Ren Hu, a doctor at the Cancer Hospital under the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, still remembers the solidarity and concerted efforts he had felt when he was a volunteer doctor at a makeshift hospital in Beijing in late November, when Beijing saw a surge of COVID-19 cases.
“The medical workers at the hospital came from different hospitals, but each of us could put aside private things anytime when the team needed us,” said Ren.
Ren expressed appreciation to a doctor who replaced him without hesitation when he had an emergent situation and he could not be on duty.
Ren’s counterpart at China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Zhang Chuanpeng, also said he, as a neurosurgeon, learned how to use ECMO, an instrument used for severe COVID-19 patients when the hospital devoted all medical workers to helping treat COVID-19 patients in early December.
More than 4 million community workers held firm at their posts in 650,000 urban and rural communities nationwide, publicizing epidemic prevention measures and the importance of vaccination, organizing nucleic acid tests and distributing epidemic prevention and control supplies. Millions of volunteers joined the ranks to fight the virus on the front line.
Ordinary people also have their own say in the nationwide three-year efforts in fighting the virus. Whenever a mutant strain appears, Chinese internet users would share expert advice and exchange virus-fighting techniques. And wearing masks has almost become a conscious act for every Chinese citizen when in public places.
Regular life is returning
Although the pandemic is yet to end, regular life is returning. The overall rate of COVID-19 infections during the Spring Festival, from January 21 to 27, has been low, and the cases were in steady decline in various places across China, said Mi Feng, spokesperson of the National Health Commission (NHC) on Monday.
Fu Wei, an official at the Department of Primary Health of the NHC, said that the number of visits seeking treatment at fever clinics, general outpatient and emergency departments in township and community health centers – the grassroots medical and health institutions – were low during the Spring Festival.
Fu added that medical treatment and epidemic prevention and control in grassroots medical and health institutions during the Spring Festival was “smooth and orderly.”
Official data showed that there are more than 2,600 community-level hospitals, nearly 600,000 village clinics, and nearly a million primary-level healthcare institutions across the country.
According to the 14th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Health Professionals, by 2025, the number of health workers will reach 16 million, the ratio of doctors to nurses in public hospitals will gradually reach about 1:2, and medical technicians will account for more than 75 percent of medical workers at primary-level medical and health institutions.
“No matter what you are doing, as long as the people are in need, you will do your best for them,” said Gou Quhong, 40, a doctor at a village hospital in southwest China’s Bazhong City.