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My battle with coronavirus: Days of being "patient one" in town

(Xinhua)    14:00, February 25, 2020

TAIYUAN, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- For the first time in her 33 years of life, Li Yezi (pseudonym) felt her family's every move was the talk of the town.

Li and her mother became two of the only three confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection in her small home county with a population of 400,000 in north China's Shanxi Province since the epidemic broke out in the city of Wuhan.

And Li, who works in Wuhan and returned on the Spring Festival holiday, was "patient one" in their town.

"Our conditions were labeled as almost the top priority on the county authorities' agenda list," Li said.

Li came back to her home county from Wuhan on Jan. 19.

"There had been pneumonia cases of unknown cause at that time in Wuhan, signs of the epidemic," she recalled, adding that she did not take it so seriously, like most Wuhan citizens.

The whole county was immersed in a festive atmosphere when Li arrived. "Yet they had no idea that I had, unfortunately, brought the virus back," Li said, unaware at the time that she had been infected.

She began to show symptoms a couple of days later, starting with a slight fever. She got no better after taking some medicine, and decided to get an injection at a clinic.

Li put on a mask before going out since she remembered Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory expert, had confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.

"When I think about it now, my act at that time might have reduced the risk of spreading the virus to others," she said.

Li started to realize that things were getting serious on the morning of Jan. 23 when Wuhan shut down all public transport and outbound channels, suspecting herself of being infected and afraid that she had already infected her family.

She went to the county hospital, told the doctor about her travel history, and was diagnosed as a suspected case by experts in the province before tested positive the next day.

"Someone asked my classmates about my situation less than two hours after my infection was confirmed," said Li, who was then transferred to a designated hospital. Her mother was later diagnosed with coronavirus infection and placed in Li's ward.

Li's father was quarantined and had some problems with his chest radiography, but coronavirus infection was later ruled out. She received a WeChat message from her younger brother, saying all the family members she had contact with were quarantined and the community she lived in was sealed off.

It was a seismic shock for the county headquarters for epidemic prevention and control, which immediately took a series of strict measures including implementing traffic control, canceling gatherings and screening out those who came back from Wuhan.

"It seemed to me that the escalation of preventive measures had something to do with my family," Li said, never thinking that the fate of her and her home county would be so closely intertwined.

The mother and daughter received a lot of encouragement from doctors and friends. Li said she was also given pep talks on WeChat by her classmates she had not heard from in years.

After receiving treatment for about two weeks, Li recovered and was discharged from hospital. Her mother was discharged from hospital four days later.

Her father joked that he had almost become an "online celebrity." "He also realizes we have brought a lot of trouble to people in our county, and is thinking about doing something in return," Li said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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