First aiders trying to keep Shanghai going

By ZHU XINGXIN and CHEN LIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-04-25 09:11
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First aiders from the Shanghai Medical Emergency Center move a patient to a trolley at a residential community under closed-loop management in Shanghai on April 20, 2022. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/China Daily]

Even with addition of ambulances, emergency response stretched to limit

During Shanghai's ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the 900 first aiders at the Shanghai Medical Emergency Center have been keeping 160 ambulances on the go, delivering emergency response services to patients while trying to keep themselves safe from infection. Since the end of March, the center has doubled the number of its ambulances, and although the workload has tripled, staff are under tremendous pressure and are still not able to meet everyone's needs.

The center has 54 emergency substations scattered around downtown Shanghai, a ratio of almost one for every two streets. Their ambulances are used to take emergency patients to hospital or return them after treatment. "Because of strict anti-epidemic measures, the average rotation time for an ambulance crew is longer than usual," said Zou Jidong, a first aider with the emergency center. "The longest I have ever experienced is three hours."

Like many of his colleagues, Zou hasn't gone home for two weeks and only gets three or four hours of sleep a day. "Delivering emergency services is our responsibility," Zou said. "As a Shanghaier, I truly hope that the city can get back on its feet as soon as possible."

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