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China Daily Global / 2020-03 / 26 / Page005

Medical workers go home from Hubei

By Wang Xiaodong in Wuhan | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-03-26 00:00

Over 21,000 in 194 teams leave province as number of infected patients declines

Half of all medical workers sent from across China to help fight the novel coronavirus in Hubei province have returned home after completing their mission, an official from the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.

As of midnight Tuesday, 21,046 medical workers in 194 teams have left Hubei, said Jiao Yahui from the commission's Medical Administration and Supervision Department.

The medical teams started to leave Hubei on March 17 as the number of COVID-19 patients decreased.

Between 1,000 and 3,000 medical workers have returned home each day over the past week, she said.

"However, more than 3,700 patients with COVID-19 are still receiving treatment in Wuhan, including more than 1,000 in serious condition, so some medical workers will continue to stay until the last serious patient is cured," Jiao said.

About 42,600 medical workers have been sent from across China over the past two months to help treat COVID-19 patients in Hubei.

Most of them were deployed to Wuhan, capital of the province and the hardest hit city in China.

Many medical workers have enjoyed priority services while taking high-speed trains home, such as traveling in exclusive trains or sitting in business class, Jiao said.

Those returning in vehicles also enjoyed services such as free meals and a police escort, she said.

Xu Baoli, an official for transportation services at the Ministry of Transport, said the ministry has arranged 132 chartered flights from 11 airlines for medical workers in Hubei over the past eight days.

The ministry has also organized trucks to help deliver medical workers' luggage, he said.

Liu Ming, an official from the National Development and Reform Commission, said the commission has provided protection materials for 20,000 volunteers who have been providing services for the medical workers, including 600,000 surgical masks.

Some major express delivery companies have also been providing services to the medical teams, such as delivering their luggage, he said.

Jiao, from the National Health Commission, said the medical teams have played a crucial role in containing the epidemic in Hubei province.

A major challenge for coping with the epidemic in Wuhan was a lack of doctors and nurses. The shortage of medical workers grew to about 10,000 a day during the peak of the epidemic as the number of patients rapidly increased, she said.

With the help of medical staff from outside Hubei, all patients were able to receive treatment, and the mortality of those in serious condition also greatly decreased, she said.

Hubei has reported only one new confirmed case in the past week, which was in Wuhan on Monday.


A health worker who returned from fighting the coronavirus in Hubei province sheds tears seeing her husband and daughter in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Tuesday. She has been away from her family for over 50 days and cannot reunite with them for another 14 days because she must be quarantined. More than 500 medical workers who went to Hubei from Shaanxi returned. ZHAI XIAOXUE/FOR CHINA DAILY





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