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Chinese New Year's Eve in Wuhan, center of coronavirus fight

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-01-26 16:14

There were far fewer cars on the streets and bustling crowds were not seen in the shopping malls in Central China's Wuhan on Jan 24 -- the Eve of the Chinese New Year.

The scene was quite different from the occasion in the previous years because of the novel coronavirus that has claimed over 40 lives and infected over a thousand nationwide. With a population of over 10 million, Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, is the center of the epidemic.

Yang Yingchen, a volunteer of the Red Cross Society of China's Wuhan branch, had a busy day answering calls.

"People from across the nation called to check on accounts and addresses to make donations," said Yang. "Many would say 'Come on, Wuhan' to us, which makes me feel especially warm and deeply moved."

Chen Li, a doctor in a Wuhan hospital, spent the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve at home to quarantine herself. She is a little bit worried about having had contact with infected patients, but luckily she has no signs of symptoms for the time being.

"Before joining the fight against the epidemic, I had sent my four-year-old son to my parents. I has disinfected all the articles in my house," she said.

Chen's husband is at the forefront of the fight against the epidemic. "We haven't seen each other for over a week," said Chen. On Saturday morning, she put on protective clothing again and returned to work.

"Actually, I can't be isolated for too long. There's still a lot of work to be done," she said. "I just don't know when I can see my boy again."

The virus had resulted in 41 deaths in China by the end of Friday, mostly in Wuhan, according to the National Health Commission. Nationwide, a total of 1,287 cases were confirmed, including 237 in critical condition.

Confirmed cases were also reported in China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United States, Vietnam, Singapore, Nepal and France.

Wuhan is following Beijing's SARS treatment model in 2003 to build a makeshift hospital with a capability of 1,000 beds for admitting infected patients. Construction on the facility began Thursday night. It will be completed and put into use prior to Feb 3, less than 10 days away.

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