We're in This Together: Foreign Couple Helps Fight the Virus

With everyone wearing goggles and protective masks at a highway exit checkpoint, day in and day out, itd be hard to tell that among those volunteer workers stands a couple who isnt from China, yet has been giving their blood (not literally), sweat and tears to help fight this novel virus outbreak.

Pakistani orthopedist Abdul Zahir Hamad and his wife Hosany Sumayyah, a surgeon from Mauritius, were busy taking the body temperature of passing drivers and passengers. The intercultural couple have lived in China for about a decade and speak fluent Chinese.

They questioned passersby carefully and patiently, again and again.

Sumayyah, the 31-year-old wife, came to China in 2008 and obtained her Master's degree in Clinical Medicine from the Wenzhou Medical University in coastal Zhejiang Province, while her husband, 35 year-old Hamad, joined the Wenzhou Panhealth Medical Center where Sumayyah worked after he graduated from Zhengzhou University in central China.

When their hospital asked about recruiting volunteers on WeChat, the couple packed their bags without thinking twice.

"We must do something," said the couple, "China is our second home.

Soon they were assigned to the checkpoint at one of the only two highway exits left in Wenzhou, where most had been on lockdown to curb the spread of the virus.

Each day, the couple works four to five hours screening thousands of cars to check whether people entering the city presented symptoms of a fever or not. They have to take shifts manning the checkpoint in addition to their routine work at the hospital.

While neither of them have been worried about the potential risk of getting infected, their far-off families have been anxious. Hamad's relatives and friends in Pakistan were alarmed by reports on social media about the epidemic outbreak in China and urged him to return home.

"They want us to go back, because of everything theyve been seeing on social media and the way news have been reported," Sumayyah said. "Unreliable sources and fake news.

"We feel that it's our responsibility to not only tell our parents, but also raise awareness among our circle of friends to help them understand what the situation really is from our perspective," Hamad shares.

"We hope the epidemic ends soon and that people can get back to their normal lives.

Source: Xinhua news

Editor: Crystal H

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