Sacrificing family time to fight virus

NANCHANG: Every day at around 8pm, 11-year-old Lin Zihan sits in her doorway with her three-year-old brother, Lin Zilang, waiting for their mum’s video call.

Meanwhile, at the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University in Nanchang City, the capital of eastern China’s Jiangxi province, emergency doctor Lin Shirong and his wife, nurse Li Ping, snuggle up together on a bench outside the isolation ward and video call their children.

“It has been 16 days since you guys left, ” said Zihan, who has handpainted a calendar to calculate the number of days their parents have been gone.

It was Chinese New Year’s Eve 16 days ago.

Lin took his whole family back to their home village, planning to have a good Spring Festival celebration.

However, that night Jiangxi Province scaled up the response to major public health emergencies to Level One to prevent and control the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus.

As medical workers at a major hospital in Nanchang, Lin and his wife had to rush back to the hospital.

“We left in a hurry, leaving our children with their grandparents. They wouldn’t let go of our hands, crying at the door, ” Li said.

Confirmed cases were continuously increasing, and the isolation wards were getting busier each day.

Li had to work at least four hours each shift in the isolation ward, and her husband was on standby 24/7.

The nurse station, outside the isolation ward, is where the couple is most likely to meet as that is where the medical workers put on their protective suits before entering isolation areas.

But most of the time, the couple does not get to see each other.

Their only contact with each other is over walkie-talkies, as mobile phones are not allowed in the isolation wards.

“Despite the hard and dangerous work, I feel safe because I’m here with my husband, ” Li said, adding that she worries about her two children most.

Although they always cry when they are on the phone with their parents, Zihan has been trying to help her grandfather with housework, teaches her brother songs and tucks him in at night, while looking forward to a family reunion soon. — Xinhua

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