Volunteerism gives a hand to epidemic control

A counter placed with food and hot drinks is recently unveiled in front of a shopping mall in Beijing, offering free services to those working on the front line of epidemic control, including volunteers, couriers, traffic police officers and sanitation workers. The food and drinks are all provided by merchants at the shopping mall. Photo by Du Jianpo, People’s Daily

By Shen Lin, People’s Daily

On Feb.1, 25-year-old Yin Xueqiang began serving as a volunteer at Nanjing South Railway Station, east China’s Jiangsu province. Six days later, he donated 400 milliliters of blood, after which he went on with the volunteering service that lasted another 27 days.

That’s what the man from Nanjing’s Gulou district did to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Yin is an employee of a Nanjing-based after-school training institution. He signed up for the volunteer program immediately after he saw the mobilization from the Nanjing Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League of China.

At the train station, he helped clear the crowds, took temperature of passengers, guided them to register information and directed traffic. Facing the high risk of cross infection due to the huge passenger volume, Yin did not back down. “We need to stand out more than ever at such moments,” he said.

On Feb. 8, Yin volunteered to work for Shangbujie community where he lives as he learned it was undermanned and facing difficulties of epidemic prevention. After joining the community workers, he measured body temperatures for residents, posted notices and sent passes for them, and promoted knowledge of the disease through a speaker. Besides, he also delivered food and vegetables to those quarantined at home, working 12 hours a day from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. “It’s no big deal, because I’m still young.” That’s what he always says.

Yin is one of the many volunteers contributing their own efforts to epidemic control, and there are also other enthusiasts whose stories will get people emotional.

On Feb. 8, delicate and steaming dinners were sent to the community staff at an epidemic control checkpoint in Jurong, Zhenjiang, east China’s Jiangsu province by Lu Xiaogen and his family from Linmei village, Houbai township of Jurong. Lu insisted that they take the dinners as he learned that instant noodles were all the staff could have to fill their stomach at night.

Ever since, the delivery of dinners became a routine for Lu, and the food was sent to 32 community workers at 8 checkpoints in nearby villages.

To prepare the food, Lu and his wife get up at six every morning and then go to a local market for ingredients. The whole afternoon they will be busy cooking and dividing the food into 32 equal parts.

It warms the community staff every time Lu yells “Food is coming!” “I told him not to come over on Feb. 15 because there was a heavy snowfall, but he still showed up,” said Tong Jianrong, Party chief of Linmei village.

In recent days, such volunteer services have been coming to the fore.

Eleven Blue Sky Rescue members in Peixian county, Xuzhou, east China’s Jiangsu province have been working in Wuhan for over a month. These men, who had shaved their head bald to make their movements quicker, spend nearly 18 hours every day running between airports, warehouses, and hospitals to transfer, load and unload emergency supplies. By the end of last month, they have transported 7.7 million items and covered a total mileage of 11,000 kilometers.

Another 100-odd truck drivers have established a motorcade that sends medical textiles to the front line. So far, the motorcade has completed 16 missions, 9 of which were to Wuhan, sending 38,000 items including protective suits and medical equipment.

Besides, over 9,000 volunteer organizations have participated in the battle against COVID-19 guided by local Party members in Jiangsu, building a tightly woven net for epidemic control.

When most people have fallen asleep at night, two community staff were still working at a checkpoint near a residential complex in Fanchang county, east China’s Anhui province, March 3, 2020. Photo by Cheng Jian, People’s Daily

In order to reduce residents’ movement, Tongcheng county of Xianning, central China’s Hubei province has activated a mechanism that allows villagers to order daily necessities in messaging groups and have their commodities delivered by volunteers or village cadres. Three to five staff are designated in each village to deliver the commodities. Photo by Liu Jianping, People’s Daily