Wuhan hospitals resume regular services amid COVID-19
Updated 13:43, 16-Mar-2020
Zhou Jiaxin, Zhu Shuying

With the number of confirmed cases down to single digits, many hospitals in Wuhan are resuming regular medical services that have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Zhu, a man who preferred not to reveal his given name, called a local hospital when he found online that the oncology department's appointment service had become available.

After the call, he went to the hospital and found the process was easier than ever before. But body temperature monitoring and some basic testing over COVID-19, which have become the norm since the pandemic began, are still in place at the hospital.

Although Zhu complained that the epidemic delayed the diagnosis of a tumor in his right leg, he now is relieved that the hospital had begun meeting non-COVID-19 patients, and the community where he lives now allows patients to come out for visiting doctors.

Seeing the improved situation, Zhu said: "I suppose we will see the end of the epidemic soon."

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, patients of chronic diseases and elderly patients, who need to consult doctors in person, had to seek diagnosis and buy medication online, which is inconvenient and can result in severe consequences.

Lots of medical facilities in Wuhan were transformed into designated hospitals to receive and treat patients with fever or those confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, as the number of patients surged.

"Our medics were reshuffled into such service teams as patient transfer, epidemic investigation, sample testing, medical supplies and logistics," Wang Junwen, vice president of Wuhans No. 4 Hospital, told CGTN. "All personnel were deployed to tackle COVID-19.”

Hu Yongjun, a cardiologist with 26 years of experience, said he had never experienced such a pneumonia rush in the emergency room, with many in critical condition.

"The top priority of our hospital is to stabilize their vital signs and transfer them to other hospitals in time," Hu said, adding although the hospital had been remodeled and resources had been reintegrated, beds were still far from being adequate given the huge number of patients.

To increase the supply of beds, Wuhan authorities built two hospitals within 10 days and requisitioned 14 public facilities in each district to remodel them into temporary hospitals for patients with mild symptoms.

With all the efforts, the number of infected patients dropped drastically in China, and the last COVID-19 temporary hospital in Wuhan was closed down last week, enabling hospitals in Wuhan gradually to resume their regular services this week.

One of the leading hospitals in Wuhan closed its ICU for COVID-19 on Sunday.

In one branch of Hu's hospital, there are still about 300 coronavirus patients, some in critical condition.

"When our patients here are discharged, I believe the situation would be absolutely improved in Wuhan," Hu said.

However, there are still risks with the situation outside China worsening and some countries, experts have warned, not taking COVID-19 seriously enough, saying China's low number of cases will not be of much help unless the situation is also brought under control around the world.

According to health authorities, imported cases of COVID-19 from overseas have surpassed 100 as of Sunday.