Holding Down the Fort
Community workers and volunteers offer help to residents during the epidemic
By Ma Miaomiao  ·  2020-02-23  ·   Source: NO.9 FEBRUARY 27, 2020
Zhang Yingxia and her sons teach residents how to properly use disinfection supplies in Xingshengxiang Community in Xining, Qinghai Province in northwest China, on February 13 (XINHUA)

Two bags of brochures, disposable gloves, masks and pens were what Zhang Yingxia and two volunteers were equipped with as they began their daily work in Xingshengxiang Community in Xining, Qinghai Province, northwest China, on February 13.

As a worker at the community service center for 12 years, Zhang has worked around the clock since January 24 as China goes all out to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak. The community has more than 3,000 households and 16 workers.

In the race against the virus, communities have become an important battleground. According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, nearly 4 million people have been on the frontline of prevention and control in 650,000 urban and rural communities across the country since the outbreak of the epidemic.

Early on the morning of the Spring Festival, or the Chinese New Year, that fell on January 25 this year, Zhang and her colleagues began contacting local residents and giving them health tips by phone and door to door. For residents whom they could not reach, they posted a notice on their doors to ensure that no one was missed.

Since epidemic prevention and control work began, the staff at Xingshengxiang has been working at full capacity. It finally had to recruit volunteers on February 2 to alleviate the shortage of manpower and better serve local residents.

The two volunteers accompanying Zhang were actually her twin sons, Wu Jianhao and Wu Jianshuang, who are 21 years old. On February 3, the brothers applied to join the volunteers and serve the community.

They followed their mother around, distributing brochures, putting up posters, registering resident information and monitoring the body temperatures of migrant workers returning from other places. They were also responsible for the hygiene and disinfection of some key areas, as well as the purchase and delivery of daily necessities for residents in self-monitored quarantine.

Zhang explained that the two young men have been her assistants during holidays since they were in the sixth grade. At first, they helped clean up the neighborhood, deliver newspapers and run errands for the elderly. Later, as they grew older, they took on various volunteer services during summer and winter vacations.

Xu Hongyan, Director of the community's Residents' Committee, said, "I am a witness to their growth, and now they have become our most reliable reserve workers!"

The brothers were busy with their volunteer work, and even though they were tired, they said they feel more content standing firmly with their mother on the frontline of epidemic prevention rather than waiting for her to come home late at night.

"My whole family unconditionally supports my mother. She and other community workers are fearless in the face of unknown dangers. How could we hold back?" Wu Jianshuang said.

In order to further contain the novel coronavirus epidemic, China extended the Spring Festival holiday and postponed school openings. The two brothers said they would continue volunteering until they are able to return to university.

As night fell, they arrived at a residential area without a management staff. The two helped check the temperature of residents and register their information.

According to Wu Jianhao, to prevail over the outbreak, not only are the efforts of medical personnel needed, but also the participation of every ordinary person in the battle to overcome difficulties.

"I hope what comes is not merely spring, but happiness after the epidemic," Zhang said.

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

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