While many out-of-towners are finding ways to leave Shanghai, Fu Jun has bucked the trend.
Shortly after the recent COVID-19 resurgence took hold in Shanghai, the young designer living in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, made up his mind to pitch in. “I’m here to repay Shanghai,” he said.
The idea had germinated in his mind for about two years.
In early 2020, the novel coronavirus outbreak decimated Wuhan, and the surge of patients drained local medical resources. To the rescue came tens of thousands of medical workers from across the country, including more than 1,600 from Shanghai.
At that time, Fu’s mother was plagued by massive infections and admitted to the Huoshenshan makeshift hospital, where she was cared for by these “heroes in harm’s way.”
As the COVID-19 resurgence put Shanghai at similar risk, there was a knot of tension in his stomach, so Fu decided to head to the front line.
“Shanghai is in a tight corner, and I wish to help a bit,” he said, noting it’s simply a way to repay the city’s kindness from two years ago.
When he told his mother, she replied: “You ought to go. Take care.”
From early April, Fu took nucleic acid tests every day to brace for his trip to Shanghai. Meanwhile, he found kindred spirits.
“I contacted my friends, asking who would like to join me. Nie Zhongxin and Ma Chenxi, both retired soldiers, quickly answered. They put their work aside and came with me,” he revealed. “All of us benefited from Shanghai’s medical assistance in 2020.”
They set off at 7am on April 24. Unexpectedly, it was a long trudge.
It’s about 700 kilometers from Wuhan to Shanghai — usually a two-hour flight or four-hour high-speed train ride — but it took them nearly 12 hours because their train was delayed in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
Though it’s their first time in Shanghai, they haven’t had a chance to do any sightseeing. They hurried to a makeshift hospital in Jing’an District as soon as they arrived.
Fu was assigned to care for more than 400 patients, which wasn’t new to him. He volunteered to work at a makeshift hospital in Wuhan two years ago. Compared with the last time when fear controlled him, he’s now more confident.
“I feel more self-assured in Shanghai,” he said, noting that he ate and slept well at the designated hotel.
Fu works 12 hours a day from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
He distributes medicines, checks patients’ condition, shares his snacks and chats with them. Unwittingly, he became a “genie in a bottle” for his patients, offering them physical support and psychological relief.
“It’s not a big deal. I just try my best to meet their different needs,” he observed.
Thirty-six of his patients require enhanced care. They are either very young, old, disabled, pregnant or disease-ridden. Fu is devoted to caring for a 96-year-old woman, the oldest in the hospital.
“She’s blind and can’t take care of herself. She completely relies on others. Most importantly, she reminds me of my grandmother,” he noted.
The woman’s son regards Fu as a savior.
“I’m growing old. When I have trouble taking care of my mother, Fu steps in. He’s about the same age as my grandson but much more mellow and considerate,” he pointed out.
Fu said talking to his mother helps him unwind after a busy day at work. He and his two friends wring their clothes of sweat every day in a competition to see who has shed the most sweat.
“I’m always glad to see my patients recover and return home. If possible, I hope to work until the pandemic ends in Shanghai. At that time, I hope to tour around the city to enjoy its beauty,” he said.