By Julie Zhu and Engen Tham
HONG KONG / SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s worst COVID-19 outbreak has shattered nerves and sparked resentment among many Shanghai residents, but some have thrived on adversity, rising with bright ideas and a commitment to help their communities to overcome the crisis.
Not surprisingly, many of these people have used the skills they developed in their work to help others navigate the terrifying new world of forced quarantine and blockades that no one dreamed of before COVID.
Li Di, a senior global bank executive, knew he had to help when he was admitted to the Nanhui quarantine site in April, after testing positive for COVID, and faced chaos.
“There were only between 120 and 150 workers to care for 10,000 patients. The staff literally had their hands full,” Li said.
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He set up a team of more than a dozen volunteers to organize meals, distribute various supplies, and help elderly patients who had problems with various quarantine center requirements.
It also established a more efficient way for quarantined people to communicate with staff, which helped speed up the mandatory testing process for the 400 people in their building, reducing the time from three hours to just one hour. , until approval. of exaggerated staff.
He even helped organize halal food for Muslims.
“You have to bring in some modern management skills to make things more efficient and make life easier,” Li said.
Shanghai has become the epicenter of China’s largest outbreak since the virus was first identified in Wuhan City in late 2019. According to China’s zero COVID policy, all positive and your close contacts should be quarantined at designated sites.
Videos on social media have shown quarantine centers hastily organized throughout the city, including one made of containers and another in a school without blankets or hot water.
The vast majority of Shanghai residents who have dodged COVID have not escaped the ordeal of the blockade.
People with orders to stay home in their flats have struggled to get fresh food and other essentials, as restrictions have closed shops and exposed a large shortage of delivery staff.
The last thing the tech-savvy banker Vera expected was to take over the bulk purchase of her housing complex. But just days after the confinement, Vera, who works for a large U.S. home in Shanghai and asked not to use her last name, had taken on the job, known as “tuanzhang” in Chinese.
Trapped with 1,000 neighbors at home and everyone struggling to order food, Vera saw an opportunity to improve the situation for everyone.
He approached neighbors through the WeChat messaging service to pick up orders and then loaded them into Excel spreadsheets to buy in bulk.
“I’ve been working as a retailer, as I have to control a number of screens and a lot of new messages at once,” said Vera, who usually ends up reviewing orders and communicating with suppliers and delivery services until well into the evening.
Shanghai mergers and acquisitions banker Shirley said that apart from Excel’s good skills, a solid social network, as in the real world of business, can be a crucial asset in overcoming the blockchain.
He was able to use the connections he made at work to contact several major suppliers, such as the online grocery company Missfresh and the Chinese brand Mengniu Dairy, and arrange for bulk purchases.
“You really need good connections,” he said.
Sun Chuan, a Shanghai-based partner in a global law firm, helped raise money for seniors as part of a campaign that a Peking Alumni Association helped launch.
According to official data, China’s most populous city has about 6 million people aged 60 and over, representing about 23% of the population. Many live alone and struggle with online shopping.
Sun asked friends via WeChat to join the campaign, and its post spread quickly.
“At first, most of the donors were friends of mine, but then many others I don’t know gave anything away. I was deeply moved by their kindness,” Sun said.
Initially aimed at raising 660,000 yuan ($ 97,350), the campaign eventually raised nearly 870,000 yuan and provided food for a week to more than 4,000 elderly people in Shanghai.
($ 1 = $ 6.7796 Chinese Yuan Renminbi)
(Report by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Engen Tham in Shanghai; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee, Robert Birsel)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.