China is motivating itself and striving to support Wuhan, the epicenter of novel pneumonia, reflecting the advantages of the country’s socialist system, which had also occurred in previous national campaigns in overcoming huge crises. Such advantages could help allocate all its social resources to help fight the pneumonia. Many said Wuhan is not alone and not an abandoned city, showing Chinese people’s significant energy and courage when facing difficult times.
Authorities on Thursday announced a public transport lockdown in Wuhan, capital city of Central China’s Hubei Province, to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 1,287 people, 41 of whom have died nationwide, as of Saturday.
After the lockdown, Wuhan people, including patients and medical staff, have been overwhelming due to the spreading disease, facing problems such as a shortage of supplies and medical equipment like hospital gowns and surgical masks. As a wake-up call while 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have raised their public health alert to the highest level I, more and more Chinese people, both in the country and overseas, have spontaneously shown their support to Wuhan.
One hundred and thirty-five medical staff from the Third Military Medical University of the Chinese PLA in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, which borders Wuhan, began their journey to the epidemic center on Friday evening, also Chinese Lunar New Year’s eve, an iconic time when family members reunite.
Staff members, who sacrificed their family reunion, decided to make efforts to help fight the pneumonia battle and had to contain their emotions.
A picture of a mother, who is among the medical staff, holding her little daughter melted many netizens’ hearts, with some Chongqing netizens saying “we are sending out best doctors to you Wuhan, please stay strong and overcome the virus!”
During a video circulating online featuring their departure, a man was heard shouting: “No one shall be left behind! We will come back with victory and honor!”
As of Saturday morning, Hubei had provided medical insurance worth 1.03 billion yuan ($148 million). The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has sent 14,000 protective suits and 110,000 pairs of medical gloves to Wuhan, according to a statement the ministry sent to the Global Times. And it also helped purchase 3 million masks, 100,000 protective suits and 2,180 pairs of goggles.
In the face of the rising demand for items such as surgical masks and disinfectants, some Chinese internet companies also joined the fight. E-commerce platform JD donated 1 million masks and 60,000 medical items. Tencent Charity Foundation donated 300 million yuan, which will be used to purchase medical supplies and motivate medical staff, and on its platforms, charity projects have been set up for people to make donations. Beijing-based short-video app Kuaishou donated 100 million yuan and 50,000 masks to Wuhan.
Chinese netizens showed their support on social media platforms. “”Fight Wuhan, Heaven bless Wuhan” have been flooding on short video apps.
After local authorities announced the establishment of a special hospital for coronavirus patients in Wuhan, the construction began on Thursday night, with 1,000 beds to be set and the hospital to be put into use on February 3. Many netizens praised it as China’s speed, and this is race against time.
And on Saturday, Wuhan said it would build a second special hospital with 1,300 beds within half a month for those infected with the novel coronavirus.
According to Kuaishou, 4,260,547 virtual gifts (around 4.3 million yuan) “Wuhan, go go go” were given by viewers when watching the live broadcast of the 2020 Spring Festival Gala, aired on Chinese New Year’s Eve on Friday. The company said the profits from this specific virtual gift will be donated to the Wuhan Charity Association in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
Alibaba Group has set up a special fund of 1 billion yuan for medical supplies, which will be used to purchase medical supplies at home and abroad, including medical equipment, equipment supplies and related preparations.
Alibaba’s Freshippo Stores Hema Fresh in Wuhan will provide food and drinking water to medical workers.
Ordinary Chinese people have been mobilizing to support the city. Residents in Qindong town, Jiangsu have donated nearly 40,000 yuan ($5,767) within 24 hours to buy medical materials to support Wuhan medical staff. Sun Chengrong, a local resident who does business in Wuhan, started the donation.
“My motherland is ill, my second hometown is ill, and the angels in white are trying their best [to battle the illness. Let’s act to support Wuhan!” read a letter Sun sent to the Global Times on Saturday.
As hospitals and medical workers in Wuhan made urgent appeals for medical supplies on Friday, many overseas students quickly responded by disseminating information and organizing donations.
Overseas students organized transportation and reception information.
Many international students are working with Chinese associations and charities in host countries to collect surgical masks, disposable garments, protective googles and gloves, and contact people with professional knowledge to provide guidance on customs declarations.
The volunteers quickly set up guidance groups that defined their roles in terms of resource mobilization, transportation coordination, information organization and mental health support. Some specialize in sorting, categorizing and verifying information, filtering out valid and reliable information from online rumors.
“Although we are overseas, we are very worried to see such a serious outbreak in our motherland. We want to help our compatriots at home share the burden and do some practical support work. We stand together with every Chinese,” Zhang Haitao, a volunteer studying in the UK, told the Global Times.
Many Chinese students associations at UK universities have also opened crowdfunding channels for Wuhan. The Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) Alumni Association UK has raised 30,000 pounds（$39,231)for hospitals in Wuhan. The association has raised 6,060 pounds, 20% of the target amount as of press time. All the funds will be used to purchase emergency medical supplies such as N95 masks, surgical masks, medical caps, goggles, protective clothing and operating gowns, said the association on the crowdfunding page.
Chinese-run UK express company UK51Parcel announced Friday free transportation for donated materials including facial masks from the UK to China. The donated materials would be used for the workers and residents of streets and communities in Wuhan, according to a notice published by the company on WeChat.
A Chinese exchange student surnamed Lu from Nankai University in Tianjin to Glasgow University in the UK told the Globe Times on Saturday that after seeing the notice published by Wuhan hospitals, she decided to donate materials and money. Lu not only donated 20 pounds via the HUST Alumni Association’s crowdfunding channel but also purchased surgical masks worth 20 pounds on Amazon and planned to send the masks via UK51Parcel.
“We Chinese overseas students pray for an early resolution of the virus outbreak…and are actively responding for the donations,” said Lu.
People across the country also prayed for people from Hubei to stay put.
Even grass-root officials and institutes were mobilized. Pharmaceuticals and private medical employees in Hubei were encouraged to convince those with a fever to see a doctor.
Traffic police in Chongqing started to put notices on cars with Hubei plates to report to the local government to check on their health.
An anonymous official from the government of Dongtai county, Jiangsu said that they had enhanced precautions to prevent the Wuhan coronavirus from spreading into the county.
People arriving in Dongtai through Wuhan or who have visited Wuhan will be recorded and local government officials will follow them to check whether they have shown any symptoms like fever and cough, the official said. There are 324 local students studying and 136 laborers in Wuhan, according to him.
In rural areas in some provinces like Henan, village officials broadcast appeals to people not to visit relatives during the Spring Festival. At the entrances to the village, checkpoints were set up to filter people from Wuhan and body temperatures were strictly checked. Banners promoting the prevention and control of the epidemic were also seen everywhere, according to Weibo users.
Many local governments banned large-scale gatherings in public. For instance, authorities from Southwest China’s Sichuan Province issued a notice on Saturday urging restaurants and individuals not to hold large-scale gatherings. And Party members from all levels are forbidden from joining such activities.
Wuhan is not an abandoned city and Chinese people always stand together and help each other to encounter difficult times, some Chinese people said.
A doctor who has been working non-stop at a hospital in Wuhan told the Global Times she won’t give up as the city is her home, and with her husband, the young couple has to safeguard this home.
Ordinary Chinese have always been key characters who help create history. “We have fears, but we also have the courage to win this tough battle,” the young doctor said.