International Asia Heroes on the front lines of battle against Wuhan virus outbreak

Heroes on the front lines of battle against Wuhan virus outbreak

A Chinese doctor who comes out of retirement to help but later dies, and a French doctor who decides to stay on despite the risks




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Wuhan – With more than 14,000 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in China alone, the fate of many rests in the hands of health professionals who serve as the first line of defence against the outbreak.

Many stories are emerging in various media outlets about the heroic acts of doctors, nurses and health practitioners in the battle against the outbreak. These have been receiving much support and appreciation from the online community.

One story is about a retired ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, Dr Liang Wudong, 62, who decided to help out as hospitals in China began to be swarmed with patients showing symptoms of the virus.

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Many people were saddened that, according to the People’s Daily, Dr Liang had died on Jan 25 from the virus and heart diseases.

Netizen Dan DeBusschere commented on Twitter that “there is little difference between a doctor treating infectious diseases and a frontline infantry soldier. They are both heroes”.

Another hero is French doctor Philippe Klein, who heads the International SOS Hospital in Wuhan. Describing himself as a “virus tamer”, he has decided to stay on in Wuhan, the first city to be locked down by the Chinese government in efforts to contain the epidemic.

“It’s not an act of heroism. It’s been well thought out, it’s my job,” he replied when asked why he had decided to stay as France began efforts to fly out hundreds of French nationals from Wuhan. According to a report, there are about 500 registered French nationals in the city.

Although Dr Klein will continue the fight against the outbreak, he has urged his family to leave the country. “The concern now is that the Chinese hospitals are currently one hundred per cent mobilised in controlling this coronavirus epidemic, so there are lots of ways humans could contract other infections or diseases,” he said.

“It would, therefore, not be appropriate at this time to go to a Chinese hospital under these circumstances,” he added. The doctor advised French nationals in Wuhan to return to France.

Dr Klein added that he saw his stay as the application of years in training as a medical professional. He admitted, however, that standing on the front lines of the virus felt like he was “with a lion in its cage”.

On Thursday (Jan 30), the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a global health emergency. -/TISG

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