China nurses suffer deep facial creases after wearing masks all day in Covid-19 fight

Tan Mei Zi
The nurses were praised for bravely facing the Covid-19 threat head-on. — Pictures from Twitter/PDChina

PETALING JAYA, Feb 13 — Healthcare workers have been burning the candle at both ends to curb the Covid-19 outbreak, especially in China where there are more than 48,000 confirmed cases in Hubei province alone.

Social media users got a brief glimpse at some of their struggles after images of nurses and doctors with deep creases on their faces from wearing face masks all day made the rounds online.

The photos were shared by Chinese newspaper People’s Daily on Twitter and won praise from social media users across the globe.

 

“They look exhausted. What an amazing effort all round. Good job, China!” wrote @MarcusSharkusH.

“Heroes’ faces! Just your everyday average joes not quitting when faced with a tough challenge,” said @BillyForza.

As the number of Covid-19 infections continues to rise, medical personnel at the heart of the outbreak in China’s Hubei province are faced with gruelling shifts and back-breaking challenges at work each day.

In an interview with BBC, one nurse who only wanted to be known as Yao described what went on behind-the-scenes at a hospital in Xiangyang, Hubei’s second-largest city after Wuhan.

“It's a difficult job, it's very sad and heartbreaking, and most of the time we just don't have time to think about our own safety.

“We also have to treat the patients with tender care, because many people came to us with great fear.

"Some of them were on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” she said.

Yao added that the high volume of incoming patients meant that staff have to endure 10-hour shifts where no one is allowed to eat, drink, or even go to the toilet.

“At the end of the shift, when we take off the suits, we'll find our clothes are completely wet with sweat,

“Our forehead, nose, neck and face are left with deep marks by the tight masks and sometimes even cuts.”

Despite the heavy atmosphere, Yao and her colleagues have received encouraging messages from the public that fuel their drive to keep going.

Some have even sent food and other daily necessities to the hospital to express their gratitude.

“I feel that even though they are quarantined at home, the virus brings our hearts together,” said Yao.

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