Words by Caroline Haga, IFRC

Photos by The Red Cross Society of China 

The Red Cross Society of China is actively supporting national authorities in responding to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, which has already affected more than 70,000 people in China alone. All branches have been activated as dedicated staff and volunteers rush to help save lives. Red Cross activities focus on Wuhan city in Hubei province, the epicentre of this outbreak, where teams are supporting healthcare workers and assisting with patient care.

On the frontline in Wuhan, four volunteer emergency medical teams from Shanghai, Beijing, Qinghai and Inner Mongolia, comprising seasoned health care professionals and drivers transport critically ill patients to and between hospitals. These teams also provide on-site first aid and support screening of patients in temporary facilities.

To help both patients and healthcare professionals, Red Cross has purchased and deployed specialized ambulances to Wuhan. These ambulances are equipped negative pressure compartments to ensure patients can be transported to hospitals, while protecting healthcare workers and the public.

As the virus spreads and patients seek medical help, those most at risk are frontline medical professionals dedicated to treating people who are unwell. These professionals are at high risk of contracting COVID-19. Red Cross is focused on ensuring the safety and well-being of these medical professionals so that they can continue to care for those in need.

Red Cross distributes protective equipment to hospitals and healthcare workers in Wuhan. These life-saving items include coveralls, protective gowns, goggles, high-standard medical masks and disinfectant. In addition, Red Cross has provided critical patient care equipment including virus test tubes, ventilators and monitors.  Additional protective gear and medical equipment is on the way, but more will be needed in the weeks to come.

Red Cross is also supporting affected medical personnel financially. Doctors and healthcare workers who have contracted COVID-19 while working have received financial support from Red Cross. The families of people who tragically lost their lives while working to save the lives of others have also received a cash grant.