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Everyday heroes fight outbreak in Shijiazhuang

By ZHANG YU and LI LEI in Shijiazhuang | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-01-29 09:24
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Medical workers work at the nucleic acid test laboratory named Huoyan, or Fire Eye, in Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei province, Jan 26, 2021.

Everyday heroes have made their own contributions in the fight against COVID-19 in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, helping the city recover from the disease.

From Jan 2, the provincial capital was hit hard by increasing numbers of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. The single-day increase in cases peaked at 84 and Shijiazhuang has reported over 800 confirmed cases.

Ren Mengdi, a 20-year-old college student, didn't expect her long-awaited winter vacation would be like this: restricted at home in Niujiazhuang village in the city's Zhengding county.

The closed management of rural villages in the city has been strict because they have been hardest hit by cluster infections.

Instead of just staying at home, Ren volunteered to help the local government organize the orderly nucleic acid testing of villagers, one of the main measures taken to screen out positive cases.

At "work", mostly outdoors, she helped copy each villager's personal details onto a form for use in epidemic control efforts.

"It's cold out there, but we youngsters are better at doing such work than elders," she said.

Villagers were organized in lines in outdoor areas to avoid people crowding into rooms and raising the risk of cross-infection.

"Such tasks were very easy for me, but essential and significant for our village," she said.

On the other side of the city, 35-year-old Huang Dongmei hasn't gone home since the beginning of the year.

She is a cleaner at a hotel in downtown Shijiazhuang where support teams from Shaanxi province live. They came to provide help in epidemiological surveys.

"I'm very honored to serve them," Huang said."Even they have joined our fight; how can we locals not do our best?"

Wearing protective gear including goggles, a face mask and gloves, Huang changed the sheets and quilt covers in a two-bed hotel room, carefully straightening and smoothing them out.

The hotel arranges regular nucleic acid tests for its staff and has kept them on the premises during the outbreak to avoid any risk of being infected.

Huang's 14-year-old son has been kept at his middle school, while her husband is at home.

"The three of us are doing our own part to obey the government's measures designed to reduce people's activities outside," she said, adding that she hoped all the efforts can beat the virus and let her family reunite.

That hope might be realized soon.

The city has reported single-digit increases in new confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent days and those cases have been in centralized quarantine centers, meaning the epidemic had been effectively contained, the local government said.

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