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Special teams pitch in to fight virus in Zhejiang

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: January 12, 2023 L M S

Zhejiang province has organized thousands of special teams to distribute daily necessities and medical supplies to residents in rural areas to fight against the recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

More than 10,000 teams were assembled, Li Qiang, an official of the organization department of the Zhejiang provincial Party committee, said during a news conference recently.

The teams include more than 300,000 social workers, Party members and community cadres, delivery workers, volunteers and others.

In addition to helping with groceries and sending medical supplies to children, people with underlying diseases, people with limited mobility and those who receive home-based treatment in rural areas of Zhejiang, the teams also offer other services to residents — especially seniors — including home care and companionship, Li said.

Li said Zhejiang will pay special attention to children, the elderly and people with underlying diseases during the upcoming Spring Festival and will seek to guarantee the supply of daily necessities and meet people's needs for medication and medical treatment.

So far, more than 80,000 villages and communities in the province have set up special teams to cover their geographical grids. Members of the teams are assigned to help deal with problems the residents face in each grid.

"The teams have helped relieve our worries," said Fang Huafen, secretary of the Lucheng community committee in Linhai city's Gucheng subdistrict, where 228 teams have been dispatched to deliver meals and medicines to the elderly, help them purchase daily necessities and provide various care services.

With a permanent population of 25,000, the community has more than 5,000 people over the age of 60, many of whom live alone, are incapacitated or have severe diseases, according to Fang.

In the city's mountainous Youxi township, where the lack of medical resources is more acute, 23 teams have been sent to assess the needs of residents for medications and other services. They have provided one-on-one and door-to-door delivery services for vulnerable groups, especially poor households, the elderly who live alone, children and the disabled.

Apart from delivery and care services, these special teams have also been regularly briefing rural residents on the latest developments and information on COVID-19, explaining to them the appropriate protective measures and ways to fight infection.

Residents are encouraged to take the initiative to share medicines and help each other.

Across Zhejiang, the special teams have been actively performing their tasks in cities such as Hangzhou, Ningbo, Shaoxing and Wenzhou.

In Linping district in Hangzhou, a health service specialist has been arranged for each team, who can offer professional medical advice to residents on the go.

In cooperation with a nearby hospital, the teams in the village of Tongjia in Ningbo have established a three-tier health monitoring mechanism for all of its 320 senior villagers, recording their health conditions every day and responding accordingly.

Over the past two weeks, authorities in the province have been dispensing kits containing fever medicine, sanitizers and masks free of charge to residents over the age of 60, with a particular focus on rural areas.

Statistics from the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs show that 8.77 million kits had been handed out to the province's rural residents by Jan 3, with some 245,000 seniors who live alone, and over 30,000 left-behind children under 14 reached via one-on-one contact.

Zhejiang has passed the first COVID-19 infection peak smoothly, provincial authorities said on Monday. To mitigate health risks, the province has stepped up efforts to improve its capacity to provide pre-emergency hospitalization services for COVID-19 patients.

Fang Xiaoying contributed to this story.