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Officials, community workers step up to help residents

By WANG XIAOYU | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-05-16 09:23
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Residents pass a shelf for deliveries in the Beitaipingzhuang neighborhood in Beijing, on May 14, 2022, which also separates the inside and outside of a community under closed-loop management. [Photo by ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

The van carrying Lyu Hanying and more than 300 bags of food was one of a few vehicles that could be seen traveling in the Beitaipingzhuang neighborhood in Beijing last weekend.

After several positive COVID-19 cases were identified in the area, many apartment complexes were locked down to help prevent the spread of the virus. Lyu and five of her co-workers at a local supermarket comprise one of the teams tasked to deliver food and daily necessities to stay-at-home residents.

"The number of daily online orders has shot up from around 200 to nearly 1,000," she said. "But thanks to smooth communication with neighborhood officials and an efficient work procedure, we can manage the surging demands and are delighted to see that our customers' needs can still be met at this special time."

Lyu, along with a mix of social workers, community officials, apartment security guards and volunteers, has been quickly mobilized to address the acute needs of locked-down residents amid the ongoing outbreak in Beijing.

Shi Miao, a Party official at the Tianzhao Jiayuan community, said she received the notice that the community would be designated as a controlled area around 5 am on Thursday. Being in a controlled area means that residents are allowed to leave their apartments but have to stay within their neighborhood.

"After the lockdown announcement, residents were most concerned about two things-where to get food and how to get to a hospital when in need," she said.

Shi said they immediately reached out to local supermarkets and asked them to guarantee sufficient supplies and deliver goods in the following days.

"Around noon on Thursday, we began plastering QR codes of the designated supermarkets on the public notice board and sending information to online chat groups, including a manual explaining how to shop for goods online," she said.

Meanwhile, a set of shelves was set up near the gate of the complex where incoming packages and shopping bags would be temporarily placed for residents to pick up to minimize contact between residents and other workers.

"Even though couriers are allowed to deliver takeout to the gate, some of them are reluctant to come out of concern of affecting their digital codes for health status," she said. "To address the last-mile problem, volunteers and social workers have stepped up."

Lu Hongying, a 59-year-old resident of the Tianzhao Jiayuan community, is one of the volunteers helping with arranging deliveries and maintaining order at testing sites.

"I think many residents here were caught by surprise by the sudden lockdown because for a long time, the virus seemed distant from us," she said. "It was natural to feel nervous and panic at the beginning.

"But we have largely adjusted to the new routine and have calmed down as most of our daily needs can be met," Lu added.

Lyu, the neighborhood official, said it is also critical to address the medical demands of locked-down residents, especially those in critical need.

On Friday morning, Lyu said a 71-year-old senior surnamed Han reported severe pain in her abdomen due to acute cholecystitis, or inflammation of the gallbladder.

"Because the hospital that she often visits was not qualified for receiving patients from controlled areas, one of our social workers quickly got in touch with another major hospital nearby and arranged a hospital bed for her," she said, adding that Han was transferred there via a designated vehicle by noon that day.

"We all understand that during a lockdown, meeting medical demands is the top priority, and there must be no delay," she said.

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