Chinese Medical workers leave for home as case numbers fall

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BEIJING: Song Meiying, 27, and 309 colleagues from Hunan province left Shanghai on Wednesday after working in the city for 46 days carrying out nucleic acid testing.

The team that Song, a technician in the laboratory medicine department at Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture Cancer Hospital in Hunan, worked with comprised experts and medics from hospitals and medical institutions in Hunan.

Team members were responsible for the full operation of the Shanghai Phoenix Lab in Jiading district, where they analyzed more than 1 million nucleic acid samples.

The challenging experience was the first time that Song had taken part in a cross-provincial medical assistance mission.

On April 3, when they arrived in Shanghai, the team members immediately started on-site research and communicated with local teams, familiarizing themselves with the situation and drawing up work plans. They worked for nearly 12 hours each day to guarantee the provision of accurate test results.

Song said: “It was a test of my professional skills and ability to handle pressure, which required great effort and determination. I’ve learned a lot from amazing workmates and hope to share these stories with my colleagues back in Hunan.”

After undergoing days of closed-loop management and quarantine to comply with prevention and control regulations, Song and other medics will soon be reunited with their families. The first thing Song will do is eat local food such as spicy crayfish.

“My parents told me they are ready to cook to welcome my return. They always support me,” she said.

Medical staff members sent to help Shanghai in the latest COVID-19 outbreak have started to leave for home in batches, as the number of locally transmitted cases in the city continues to fall and the outbreak is effectively controlled.

Airlines in Shanghai are offering special charter flights for those returning home, to thank some 50,000 medical workers, including experts, doctors, nurses and nucleic acid sampling teams from 22 provinces, along with military personnel, for their contribution on the frontline since March.

Green channels have been set up for medics at airports, enabling quick boarding and security checks.

On May 13 and May 14, for example, seven charter flights left Pudong and Hongqiao international airports, carrying workers back to Sichuan, Hebei, Shaanxi, Henan and Hubei provinces.

On May 15, medical team members from Zhejiang province who helped Shanghai with nucleic acid testing were escorted by police on their way home.

The workers from Zhejiang were deployed in Shanghai at the most critical time of the current COVID-19 outbreak in March, when daily infection numbers soared. They took part in nucleic acid testing and frontline work at makeshift hospitals, intensive care wards, and hospital infection prevention and control centers.

The fully trained and self-sufficient medical team members lived in nearby cities such as Huzhou and Jiaxing, Zhejiang, both of which are about a two-hour drive from Shanghai. They made a round trip to work every day to avoid overburdening the city’s management system.

Zhang Caixia, a team leader from First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University in Zhejiang, said: “I led a team of 177 medical workers to help with nucleic acid sampling in almost every district in Shanghai. We are honored to take part in the city’s battle against the virus, and I believe everything will soon improve.”

Before they left for home, some medical workers visited Shanghai’s landmark tourism site the Bund in their spare time to take photographs.

Zhong Qiang, who is in charge of the Bund area at a police station in Huangpu district, said the Bund, which is still under closed-loop management as a scenic spot, has been open since May 12 for visits by medical teams supporting the city. –The Daily Mail-China Daily news exchange item