Frontline Nurse: Problems Abound in China’s Pandemic Prevention Efforts

By Frank Yue
Frank Yue
Frank Yue
Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.
February 5, 2021 Updated: February 5, 2021

Mismanagement, faulty equipment, and unfair allocation of government compensation were common problems in China’s attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19, a nurse recently told The Epoch Times in an interview.

Liu Fen (alias), is a nurse at a healthcare center in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province. She shared some of the problems she witnessed while treating COVID-19 patients and doing pandemic prevention work.

Bad Quality Digital Thermometers

Liu revealed that faulty thermometers, which were purchased by the logistics division of her institution last year, are still in use.

“Every early morning, medical staff perform body temperature checks [on patients] when they begin a day’s work,” she said. “However, the digital thermometers cannot read temperatures accurately.” 

For people who visit the center, they must first go through a pre-outpatient checkpoint station. If they have a higher-than-normal body temperature, they are suspected of having a fever—a common COVID-19 symptom. They are then usually referred to a higher medical institution.

A staffer borrowed better thermometers from another hospital to check their temperatures. “Or we use mercury thermometers, which go a little more slowly,” she said.

Liu worried that “If the device lets someone with a fever pass, wouldn’t I be creating trouble?”

She said that last year, center staff also assisted in outdoor mass testing and other prevention efforts. When staff used the thermometers at checkpoints set up at highway exits, intersections, railway stations, and bus stations, they couldn’t get accurate readings.

Liu cited an example that occurred during last year’s outbreak. Some of her colleagues were sent to check temperatures for administrators at a community center with the low-quality products. So, someone got a 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit) reading; another got over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) even though the person had just left an air-conditioned room. 

Sharing Disposable PPE

Liu said she and her coworkers were exposed to the risk of contracting the CCP virus because their leaders required them to share or reuse disposable PPE (personal protective equipment) while they were on duty.

She revealed: “While receiving training, we were told to wear isolation gowns which must be free of bacteria to avoid contamination. In times of the Wuhan outbreak, however, they [leaders] asked us—nurses working on two-shifts at the pre-outpatient checkpoint station—to share gowns, meaning one shift had to wear those that had been taken off by the previous shift. Or you had to wear what you wore yesterday.”

“Those used gowns are contaminated, and should be removed, disinfected, and eventually disposed of. How can they be used again? They [leaders] explained medical supplies were in shortage during the pandemic,” said Liu.

According to Liu, nurses began to protest, refusing to work without safe PPE. Upon such pressure, their leaders agreed to make rule changes

Government Benefits

The Chinese regime promised to provide “pandemic benefits” to frontline medical staff. Liu said some people have not yet received this payment.

As for work bonuses, the frontline staff who worked overtime received the least amounts, according to Liu.

“We were arranged to work on sites of quarantine, preliminary check, nucleic acid testing, and home care, but we got the least benefits. On the contrary, those office administrators got the most,” she said, noting that those supervisors didn’t have to deal with the pandemic on-the-ground.

But one of the directors at the healthcare center “who had never been on the frontlines was given the title of ‘frontline anti-virus representative’” this January, Liu revealed.

One of her angry colleagues reported this matter to the top city leader via a local hotline and the mayor’s email address. The city’s official hotline receives complaints from citizens. 

But the whistleblower was soon summoned to the office and told that he would get ten points deducted from his “spiritual civilization” score, a job performance index. His year-end performance bonus, as well as his annual assessment, will be affected too, the office said. 

Liu revealed that her colleagues were angry at the director but would not dare to stand up for the whistleblower, afraid they might experience retaliation.

“They [colleagues] know everything, ” she added, “so they all hate him [the director] and curse him secretly.”

Frank Yue
Frank Yue
Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.