The badly cut hands of a 22-year-old nurse in China has provided an eye-opening insight into the difficult conditions medical teams are facing as they tackle the deadly coronavirus.
Shocking images of Hu Pei’s hands have been widely broadcast across Chinese media in recent days as she works endless hours in quarantine tackling the virus which has so far killed 425 people within China.
The young nurse works within the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Hunan Children’s Hospital in the city of Changsha, 350km south of the virus epicentre in Wuhan located in the neighbouring province of Hubei.
Hunan has so far confirmed 521 of the 19,881 coronavirus cases across China and the rest of the world.
The image of Hu Pei’s dry, chapped hands prompted concern around the country over her welfare, as well as for other medical staff fighting the virus.
The photo comes amid a series of unverified videos which have also surfaced on Chinese social media showing exhausted doctors breaking down amid the intense pressure placed on them.
Speaking to The Beijing Youth Daily, Hu Pei revealed the wounds on her hands had been caused by the continuous replacement of protective gloves, while regularly applying alcoholic disinfectant to her hands had caused the irritation.
Talcum powder within the gloves had only made the issue worse.
“Washing hands and disinfecting after a nick on your hands can be very painful,” she explained.
The young nurse also revealed her own concerns about her lack of experience while fighting the virus, but said she was dedicated to helping in any way she could.
Hu Pei has since thanked those who have offered words of support after images of her injured hands circulated, while adding her wounds had eased.
“I don't know how to express my gratitude to those who care about me. I am also very moved. Thank you for your concern,” she said, according to Xiaoxiang Morning News.
Hu Pei said her workload was far less strenuous to that of medical staff operating within Wuhan, where video footage from hospitals within the epicentre circulated last month showing hundreds of locals jostling among corridors as hysteria around the virus grew.
In a bid to tackle the strain placed on current medical infrastructure, the government ordered the building of two hospitals dedicated to fighting coronavirus, with the first hospital opening on Monday after a mere 10 days.
On Monday, state media announced the birth of a baby girl by a mother who had contracted coronavirus in Harbin.
Medical staff confirmed the child tested negative for coronavirus and would be kept in isolation for further observation.
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