Xi'an youth fight COVID-19 resurgence with tech, togetherness

(Xinhua) 15:00, December 29, 2021

XI'AN, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- When Gao Yongkai titled a document "Epidemic Mutual Assistance of Xidian University," filling in the quantity of surplus anti-epidemic materials and sending the document link to WeChat groups last Thursday, the junior student did not expect it would soon become treasured by his peers under lockdown.

Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, imposed a citywide lockdown, effective last Thursday, in an effort to curb the spread of the latest COVID-19 resurgence that began on Dec. 9.

The megacity with a population of 13 million reported 175 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of local cases to 811.

All communities, villages and work units have been closed off since last Thursday, and residents have been asked not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary.

With the rollout of the measures, to aid students who were preparing for their exams while needing to hoard daily necessities, Gao immediately thought of establishing an online document as a mutual aid platform for sharing statistics and information.

On the night when the document was launched, the number of simultaneous online users reached more than 1,200.

"It has brought us together. Whenever someone asked for help, there would always be many offering solutions," said Zhang Kui, a graduate student at Xidian University.

"I hope the document can help students to have a more convenient life at this special moment," Gao said, adding that the document, having been updated nearly 300 times, has received more than 200,000 visits so far. The content ranged from statistics of anti-epidemic materials, the real-time situation of nucleic acid testing sites, the opening of study rooms and libraries, to information related to postgraduate exams.

Amid the virus gloom, millions of students in Xi'an have responded calmly, offering assistance to help the city return to normalcy as soon as possible.

At Xi'an Jiaotong University, the situation of nucleic acid testing has been livestreamed, to facilitate orderly testing among a large number of students.

"Some students tried to tabulate real-time statistics through online forms before, but it was not effective enough. So we came up with the idea of conducting livestreaming," said Hu Xiaokun, a graduate student at the university.

"With the support of the school, we formed a team of 11 people to livestream the situation at nucleic acid testing sites on the Chinese online platform Bilibili. There could be hundreds of online users at the same time," Hu said.

"We even allow students to request songs to be played over the livestream as a way to relax," Hu said. "The haze of the epidemic will eventually dissipate." 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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