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Nurses babysit infants as governments set up hotlines to keep minors safe
Volunteerism bolstered. Hotlines established. Government oversight tightened. The moves all aimed at one thing: to make sure that no child is left unattended to as authorities across the nation work to pinpoint and isolate novel coronavirus patients and their close contacts.
In Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, three nurses have sacrificed their rest time to tend to three children－one age 6, another 4, and the youngest born less than two months ago－who are under medical observation in isolation wards at the Yinchuan Women and Children Healthcare Hospital.
The children"s parents have been put into isolation while being treated for pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, leaving the three children unattended.
After receiving a phone call from the city"s health commission on the night of Feb 1, asking it to take care of the three children, the hospital assigned the three nurses as their substitute mom.
Already working long hours in the fight against the virus, the three nurses worked out a three-shift schedule in their off-work hours to babysit the children, especially the baby who needs care around the clock. Apart from checking their body temperature, they also change diapers, read stories and cook food for the children.
Like elsewhere, single-use protective suits are in short supply in Ningxia. To reduce wastage, the nurses have tried to reduce their meal, drink and bathroom breaks.
Liu Aiqin, one of the three nurses, said she is single but hopes to be a mother one day.
"I have been staying with them every day and I am starting to care for them as if they were my own," she said. The children have not shown any symptoms of infection.
Similar altruism can be also found further south, at the Guangdong Second Provincial Central Hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. Twenty-eight nurses have decided to take turns to care for a 2－year-old boy after five members of his family were infected with the virus and isolated at the hospital for treatment. They take his temperature, change his clothes and sing him to sleep.
The hospital said the boy is expected to be reunited with his mother and elder brother soon, as they have recovered and will be discharged from the hospital on Saturday.
Outside hospitals, civic-minded groups are doing what they can to help such children.
In Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, East China Sea Daughter, a female volunteer group, has been making headlines in local media for its part in caring for a 10-year-old girl, identified as Xuanxuan, who was stranded at home by the outbreak.
The volunteers－mainly housewives, shop owners and government employees－offered to care for Xuanxuan while her parents were away, cooking, cleaning up and ensuring she got her homework done on time, the Zhejiang News reported on Monday.
Her parents traveled to a neighboring county for prenatal exams but were stranded there after travel restrictions were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. With no relatives in the city, Xuanxuan was left to fend for herself.
China has attempted to stop the coronavirus from spreading by sealing off major cities and by tracking and isolating four groups of people: confirmed cases, suspected cases, fever patients with pneumonia symptoms, and their close contacts.
Strict quarantine measures have slowed down the rate of infection, but in the early stages they placed young children, disabled people and other disadvantaged groups in jeopardy.
On Jan 29, a 17-year-old boy with cerebral palsy was found dead in his home in Huanggang, Hubei province, six days after family members were quarantined for treatment, leaving the boy at home alone. The case triggered outrage online and prompted the local authorities to launch an investigation.
Governments have been stepping up oversight to avoid such incidents. In Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, the civil affairs bureau set up a 24-hour hotline to handle requests for help from minors. People can call 0371-68953532 and report children whose guardians have been put under quarantine and are unable to care for them.
Similar hotlines have been established in Zhongshan, Guangdong (0760-88201184), and Changzhou, Jiangsu province (0519-86664045).
The authorities in Zhongshan said that after receiving reports, they will mobilize all resources at hand to offer care services.
Amid the national health emergency, local governments can commandeer hotels, shelters and other facilities to accommodate and care for such children when necessary, said Zhang Jing, a professor at China Women"s University and an expert on child welfare.
"Caring for such kids has strained resources at the community level," she said, adding that those getting in contact with them need proper protection, such as protective suits and goggles, to avoid possible infection.
She said tending to them in groups will be more efficient, with food and other supplies delivered every day, along with psychological counseling.team bracelets customrubber band bracelets how torubber bracelet meaningscustom silicon wristbandsorder silicone wristbands online cheap