Tu Shengjin (R), a doctor at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, holds hand with his wife Cao Shan, a nurse at the hospital, on February 2, 2020 (PEOPLE.CN)
2020 is a year of love for Chinese, as the numbers "2-0-2-0" sound similar to the words "love you, love you." Although the novel coronavirus has disrupted the lives of everyone in the country, love continues to prove a source of great strength in the fight against the outbreak. Here are just a few of these heartwarming stories.
Tu Shengjin is a doctor at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, one of the main hospitals for the treatment of pneumonia in the epicenter city. His wife, Cao Shan, also works at the hospital as a nurse.
Since the outbreak of the infectious disease, the couple have been working around the clock treating and caring for patients. Were it not for an interview earlier this month, it would be rare for them to have chance to meet for a good conversation, even though they work in the same building.
Speaking of his wife's job, Tu emotionally explained, "The role of a doctor is generally considered to be more important than that of a nurse. But in fact, nurses have really heavy workloads. In the isolation wards, they not only offer medical care but also have to attend to the basic needs of the patients, such as changing bedpans for some bedridden elderly patients."
In the eyes of Cao, her husband is an interesting and humorous man, albeit not very romantic. During their 14 years of marriage, she has received only one bouquet of roses from him. "I understand him. He's dedicated to his work," Cao explained. "He rarely says sweet things, but I know he loves me through his actions."
Jay Birbeck, a British graphic designer, pauses for a photo on a street in Beijing on February 1, 2020 (CHINA.ORG.CN)
It's the third year since Jay Birbeck moved from the U.K. to work and live in Beijing. As the coronavirus spread, the British Foreign Office urged its nationals to leave China on Feb. 5. Almost immediately, Birbeck received many concerned messages from friends and family back home.
However, he decided to stay, primarily because of his Chinese girlfriend. "I have commitments here that I can't just abandon; most importantly, my partner. Visa applications take weeks so there was no way she could come with me," said Birbeck.
For the 27-year-old graphic designer, living and working in China has offered him a wide range of new experiences. "Beijing is a fascinating and vibrant place to enjoy a modern Chinese lifestyle. Every single day I've lived here has been somehow different from the last," he said.
Dishes prepared by Jay Birbeck, a British graphic designer living and working in Beijing (CHINA.ORG.CN)
Birbeck expressed his deep sympathies for those who have suffered during the coronavirus outbreak, and gratitude for the medical professionals on the frontline as well as the people who have continued working, including taxi drivers, restaurant staff and food delivery drivers. "I hope we've seen the worst of it and that the country can begin to heal."
Asked about his plans for Valentine's Day this year, Birbeck said he would be staying at home with his girlfriend and cooking a nice meal.
Chen Ying, a nurse at the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, in Jinhua city, east China's Zhejiang Province. The marks on her face are from wearing a face mask and protective goggles for long periods of time (QIANJIANG EVENING NEWS)
Chen Ying is a nurse at the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, in Jinhua city, east China's Zhejiang Province. Chen and her boyfriend had originally intended to register for marriage on Valentine's Day.
However, the novel coronavirus epidemic forced them to change their plans. Chen was assigned to work on the frontlines against the outbreak on Jan. 25, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Chen Ying, a nurse working on the frontlines against COVID-19, interacts with her boyfriend through the glass door of an isolation ward in Jinhua city, east China's Zhejiang Province, on February 4, 2020 (QIANJIANG EVENING NEWS)
During this challenging period, Chen often works until 2 a.m. and walks back to her dormitory alone. Concerned about her safety, her boyfriend stays up late every night to video chat with her as she makes her way home.
"Both of us are tired and sleepy late at night, so we don't actually talk too much. What matters is that I know he's there with me – that way I feel safe," Chen said.
After 11 days apart, Chen met up with her boyfriend on Feb. 4. for the first time since she joined the battle against the epidemic. "I miss you. How are the marks on your face?" "I miss you, too." The young couple expressed their love to one another through the glass door of the isolation ward.
Zhang Yan, a doctor at Tangshan Infectious Disease Hospital, the designated hospital for patients infected with the novel coronavirus in Tangshan, during his work in an intensive care unit on February 6, 2020 (CHINA.ORG.CN)
Zhang Yan works as a doctor in the intensive care unit of Tangshan Infectious Disease Hospital, the designated hospital for treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus, in north China's Hebei Province.
Zhang was deployed to treat severe cases in the city and has now been away from his family for more than 20 days. His wife Yuanyuan has had to singlehandedly take care of their two kids, aged six years and just nine months.
Zhang Yan (R), a doctor working in the intensive care unit of Tangshan Infectious Disease Hospital in north China's Hebei Province, poses for a photo with his family before the outbreak (CHINA.ORG.CN)
"We all miss him very much. But his main duty now as a doctor is fighting the virus outbreak with courage and dedication. He's our hero," Yuanyuan said. "I'll always stand behind him, by taking care of everything at home."
To express her love and support for her husband, Yuanyuan recorded a short video, in which all their family members appear. In the video, the eldest son spoke with tears in his eyes: "Dad, I think you're more than a doctor. You're like a soldier protecting our safety and health. I want to be as brave as you. Dad, we're waiting for you to come back home."