Chinese medical workers who die from infection while treating patients of the dreaded coronavirus will be given the status of martyrs, an official communiqué said yesterday.
Generally, the status of martyr is accorded to soldiers who die fighting in battle. Extending this honor to medical workers-doctors, nurses and others- indicates the seriousness of the battle against the coronavirus in China.
The Ministry of Veterans Affairs and the Political Work Department of the Chinese Central Military Commission (CMC) jointly issued a notice on honoring personnel who died in the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreaks, the Chinese PLA’s official news channel, chinamil.cn has reported.
According to the notice, the deceased medics and epidemic prevention workers who got infected with novel coronavirus and died during their direct contact with the patients to be investigated or confirmed, and sample collection, diagnosis, treatment, nursing, etc., shall be assessed and approved as martyrs.
The notice emphasized that it is incumbent to implement the preferential treatment policy, timely release the martyrs' reward and pensions, carry out condolences activities and psychological counseling for their families, and properly solve their practical difficulties.
The notice also asked localities to find and spread the outstanding deeds and stories of martyrs in the combat against epidemic, so that more people will remember them.
China has airlifted hundreds of medical workers to virus-hit Wuhan which remains under lockdown. There have been house-to-house checks in the city. People suspected of having the virus face mandatory testing and anyone who had close contact with virus patients will be put under quarantine.
Liu Zhiming, one of Wuhan’s most senior doctors reportedly breathed his last on Tuesday after being infected with COVID-19. The city’s municipal health commission said Zhiming had taken part in the battle against the virus from the start and had made important contributions in fighting and controlling the disease.
This comes days after the death of Dr.Li Wenliang who alerted colleagues over a mysterious disease that later turned out to be the coronavirus. Wenliang was detained and censured by the Wuhan police last month for “spreading false rumours.”