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China’s Epidemic Heroes Returned Home Posted by on Apr 1, 2020 in News

March 17 will be a day to remember (被永远记住的日子 bèi yǒng yuǎn jì zhù de rì zi). On that Tuesday, China began a withdrawal (撤回 chè huí) of medical staff (医护人员 yī hù rén yuán) from Wuhan, the city considered the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

Image via Pixabay

At the beginning of the year, a new pneumonia swept (席卷 xí juǎn) Wuhan. The city was overwhelmed with hundreds of new cases of coronavirus each day. Local hospitals have been flooded with patients. Thousands lay sick in hurriedly constructed hospitals. Its cumulative number of confirmed (确诊 què zhěn) infections reached 50,004 as of March 16. 武汉生病了 (Wǔhàn shēng bìng le, Wuhan is sick).

Over 42,000 medical workers from across the country were dispatched to aid Hubei since the virus outbreak. They were praised as 最美的逆行者 (zuì měi nì xíng zhě, heroes in harm’s way), for traveling to the frontline to fight the epidemic (抗疫 kàng yì) in a race against time. They were not afraid of life and death (不惧生死 bù jù shēng sǐ ), leaving their families behind, putting themselves at risk for strangers, giving all they can to cure (治疗 zhì liáo) Wuhan.

While the virus is spreading (蔓延 màn yán) quickly globally, its progress in China has slowed since mid-February. The epidemic outbreak in Hubei has been subdued markedly since the beginning of March. A first daily tally in single digits of eight new coronavirus infections in Wuhan were announced on March 12. Only one confirmed infection was reported in the city on Monday, March 16, and the medical teams started leaving Hubei the next day.

  • 随着湖北新冠肺炎疫情形势好转,援鄂医疗队开始有序撤回。

Suí zhe Húběi xīn guān fèi yán yì qíng xíng shì hǎo zhuǎn, yuán è yī liáo duì kāi shǐ yǒu xù chè huí.

As the situation of the new corona pneumonia epidemic in Hubei improved, the medical team in Hubei began to withdraw in an orderly manner.

The withdrawal was well planned, promising the medical treatment teams (医疗队 yī liáo duì) the most special courtesy (最高礼遇 zuì gāo lǐ yù). It was the Ministry of Public Security’s way to pay tribute to the people who made outstanding contributions to the prevention and control of the epidemic. The withdrawal took several days, each day a couple of teams left Hubei. After their farewell ceremony (欢送仪式 huān sòng yí shì) they were escorted (护送 hù sòng) by the police to their departure point. Green traffic lights were turned on all their way, and police officers at the expressway tollgate saluted while watching their vehicles leave. At railway stations police officers saluted medics who entered the station and boarded the train.

The angels in white (白衣天使 bái yī tiān shǐ) also received a warm welcome (热情迎接 rè qíng yíng jiē) back home. The planes carrying them home were received with a water salute (水门礼 shuǐ mén lǐ) after landing. The captains thanked them for all they did for Wuhan, and the airlines’ employees welcomed them on land, holding big red banners with slogans like:

  • 欢迎抗疫英雄胜利归来

Huān yíng kàng yì yīng xióng shèng lì guī lái

Welcome back heroes combating the epidemic

  • 向逆行英雄们致敬

Xiàng nì xíng yīng xióng men zhì jìng

Saluting the heroes in harm’s way

Watch this moving video about the farewell of medical staff whose contributions of a short period touched many:

Text vocabulary

撤回 chè huí = to withdraw

医护人员 yī hù rén yuán = medical staff

席卷 xí juǎn = to sweep, to engulf

确诊 què zhěn = confirmed diagnosis

生病 shēng bìng = to get sick, to fall ill

kàng = to resist, to fight

= plague, epidemic

治疗 zhì liáo = to treat, to cure

蔓延 màn yán = to spread

医疗队 yī liáo duì = medical team

欢送仪式 huān sòng yí shì = farewell ceremony

护送 hù sòng = to escort

天使 tiān shǐ = angel

迎接 yíng jiē = to welcome

英雄 yīng xióng = hero

guī = to return



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  1. Mark F.:

    Your president of China is the one and the only one responsible for the worldwide pandemic and deaths we are now facing in every corner of the world.
    Why? Because your country well knew about this risk back in December when your scientists were warning you about the possible spread and the government tried to silence them. Your president did nothing at that critical time to stop international travel to your country, even if it was only for preventative measure in case your scientis would have proven to be incorrect. But unfortunately they were correct and your president failed to act responsibly causing the spread to begin, until it was too late. This criminal negligence and he should gave international criminal tribunal in The Hague for conviction.

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