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Female workers fight on the frontline at Huoshenshan Hospital

By Xian Jiangnan (People's Daily Online)    10:57, March 08, 2020

There has never been a shortage of female workers in the battle against the coronavirus that has engulfed China. They are not only mothers, wives and daughters, but doctors, researchers, train attendants, construction workers, volunteers, and those that did their part to make the miracle of the Huoshenshan Hospital come true.

Huoshenshan Hospital is one of the two emergency makeshift hospitals in Wuhan built in just a little more than a week in response to the novel coronavirus. There is a large number of female workers on-site, ordinary but extraordinary, who have contributed to this “Chinese miracle.”

Hu Xiaohong, a contractor from Wuhan, is among them. On New Year's Eve of this year, Hu went to the construction site of Huoshenshan Hospital after hearing that the hospital was in need of more construction workers. In the days that followed, she worked day and night and even slept at the construction site.

As a mother of two children, Hu said it was necessary to leave her children temporarily at this crucial moment. “We will go wherever we are needed,” Hu said.

Through workers’ round-the-clock efforts, the hospital was built in just 10 days, with people united around the same purpose of prevailing over a disease that threatens all. According to statistics, the average working time of the construction workers at the Huoshenshan Hospital reached over 15 hours per day. Among the construction workers, about half of them were female, with many doing all kinds of arduous physical work just like men.

After 5 hours of intensive work, Zuo Tian, a nurse working at the Huoshenshan Hospital, takes off her mask and protective suits, with red marks left on her face and wrinkly fingers from wearing gloves. (Screenshot/

The moving stories related to the hospital continued after it was built. Recently, a vlog went viral on Chinese social media, in which a nurse named Zuo Tian recorded a day of work inside of ICU wards at the Huoshenshan Hospital. At 1:30 a.m., Zuo woke up to start her day. After some routine precautions, she ate a bar of chocolate and put on an adult diaper because there was no time for toilet breaks. At about 3:20 a.m, she started her work, and her protective suit got wet just one hour later.

After 5 hours of intensive work, she took off her mask and protective suits, with red marks left on her face and wrinkly fingers due to the long periods of time wearing protective gear. Nevertheless, she made fun of herself in front of the camera in high spirits. “How super ugly I am!” She laughed.

Zuo told netizens in the vlog that the hotel accommodating her and her colleagues was quiet all day, although there were always staff taking a break due to different work shift allocation of human resources.

Zuo’s vlog immediately drew nationwide attention, with many netizens applauding her efforts and optimistic attitude. “Though you wear no makeup and have red marks left on your face, you are still beautiful! You have won our respect,” one Sina Weibo comment read.

Zuo is among 1400 military medics working in the Huoshenshan Hospital. Since Feb. 5, the hospital has admitted about 1600 patients and 600 patients have been cured and discharged.

Fu Yujia is now in charge of cleaning the working space and processing medical wastes at the Huoshenshan Hospital. (Screenshot/

At the hospital, a large number of medics are post-90s. Fu Yujia, born after 1995, is now in charge of cleaning the working space and processing medical waste materials. Every day, she has to pack and disinfect hundreds of bags of garbage. Each bag is sealed and marked with information about which department it is from and the packing time before being thrown into the trash bins. In addition, she has to disinfect clothes of medics, machines and floors.

“There is nothing that we cannot do (referring to individuals born after the 1990s). Now it’s time for us to take more responsibility and serve our society,” Fu said.

Enormous amounts of female workers are still working on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. Some may call them the “Mulans” of modern society. In ancient times, Mulan was a soldier that endured many challenges to protect the nation. And now, Mulan could be understood as a construction worker, a nurse, or a volunteer, protecting the nation against the lethal virus. Today, China has more than one Mulan.

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

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