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January 31, 2020

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Fighting virus on the frontline in Hubei

As the coronavirus epidemic develops, a Shanghai doctor is easing public fears with his enthusiasm as well as rational analyses of the situation.

On Wednesday, Zhang Wenhong, head of the infectious diseases department at Huashan Hospital affiliated with Fudan University, ordered his Party-member doctors to take over every frontline job in the ongoing fight against the virus, which has so far affected more than 7,000 people across China.

“There’s no bargaining,” he said at a media briefing. “A Party member must go to the front.”

From the end of last year to now, many doctors in Zhang’s department have been working on the frontline.

He spoke highly of them: “These are great doctors. They dared to expose themselves before the virus on day one when there was scant knowledge about its risk.”

There are 49 doctors in Zhang’s department, 25 of them Party members. Many of the Party members have already worked day and night on the frontline “almost without a rest,” he said.

Zhang was among the first in his department to rush to the frontline of the battle against the virus that broke out in Wuhan, Hubei Province, and later spread across the nation and other parts of the world.

Before he gave the media briefing on Wednesday, he had just returned on a red-eye flight from a field inspection in Henan Province next to Hubei.

Instead of taking a nap, he wrote a lengthy article for his department’s WeChat account to tell readers where things stood.

Despite their work on the frontline, he and his team have been updating the WeChat account every day with timely analyses to dispel public worries. One article generated a readership of more than 10 million.

His words and deeds have defined what it takes to be a good doctor at a time when good doctors are most needed.

A doctor is good not just for his medical skill, but also for his profound love of patients.

In a media report on January 13, Zhang was quoted as saying a doctor treating infectious diseases must “radiate with infectious enthusiasm” — selfless devotion to people’s health. By fighting diseases on the frontline, the report said, he made great contributions to the defeat of SARS in 2003 and many other viruses that appeared later.


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