Do your test! Hurry up! British volunteer wields the megaphone
"Lǎi lāi lái, zuō hē suǎn! Ní mēn guō lài zuō hē suǎn, kuāi yī dián!" 来来来,做核酸!你们过来做核酸!快一点! (Come on, everybody! Do your test! Hurry up!)
A clear but heavily accented Chinese voice reverberated through Anting New Town in suburban Jiading District last Sunday.
Wearing a blue protective suit and a white raincoat, Adam Mcilmoyle, a 27-year-old Briton, was walking around in his community, wielding a megaphone to call on residents to take their COVID-19 nucleic acid test.
Mcilmoyle really managed to get his teeth into his new role as a dabai, a nickname for medical staff, community workers and volunteers in white protective suits who work on the frontline to nip the coronavirus in the bud.
He especially learned some simple sentences in Chinese the night before, practicing it many times to brush up his pronunciation. Despite this, his calls were clear enough to spur residents to rush downstairs and get their nucleic acid tests.
The massive round of nucleic acid testing is part of "grid screening" across the city, a strategic pattern that aims to curb the spread of the coronavirus in selected areas, where residents will be locked down and have to complete two nucleic acid tests within 48 hours. Volunteers have been a wall of support during the process, including many expats who are helping out in their communities.
A total of 2,400 people in his community received the test last Sunday. Though he's a new dabai, he came well-prepared, and was familiar with every step.
Firstly, the residents queued up and got the QR code for the test on their healthcare cloud app, then the dabai checked their codes and confirmed their apartment number to make sure everyone was in. After scanning the codes, the residents provided an oral swab and got a sticker saying "Being sampled."
"You will be able to see the result on the app," Mcilmoyle told them.
The British volunteer got up at 6:30am on Sunday as his work hours for the day were from 7:30am to 4pm. He mainly helped in maintaining order and handed over the stickers after testing.
Everyone said "Xiè xiè" 谢谢 or "Thank you" when he gave the stickers, Mcilmoyle told Shanghai Daily. Some of them recognized him as their children's math teacher. "They are very friendly and cooperative," he added.
Mcilmoyle took his nucleic acid test at the end of the day, after all residents had finished theirs. He thanked the testing personnel profusely, in Chinese, after "Being sampled."
Despite of the cold and wet weather, "everyone's still out helping, giving their time for the community. Nobody's getting paid. They're giving their time to make sure that the community stays safe," he pointed out.
Mcilmoyle is a math teacher at East China Normal University Affiliated Bilingual School. On coming to know that his community was recruiting volunteers for the massive round of nucleic acid testing through a local WeChat group on Saturday, he decided to apply.
This was also his first stint as a volunteer in China. "I've lived here (in Shanghai) for a year and a half. Everyone has been so nice to me," Mcilmoyle said, "I just thought it was a good time for me to give back to the community and help out a little bit."
He recorded his experience and uploaded the video on video-sharing platform Bilibili with the ID @亚亚亚呀当. The video has gone viral and has been viewed nearly 740,000 times so far, and received thousands of comments.
"There is no national boundary for virus prevention!" "I hope you can take care of yourself while being a volunteer!" and "That's very kind of you, a warm-hearted foreign friend!", are some examples of the reaction.
At the end of the video, he takes off his protective hat and his hair is a little messy, and he appears tired after a full day of work. But he thinks it was worth it.
"I'm really glad I could be a part of the community and help out here. I hope that this town and everywhere in China can fight and beat the virus together. Come on," the Briton exhorts before closing the video.
His efforts have been recognized and valued. He was asked to help with the volunteer work again the next day, but unfortunately he had to give classes online. "If they need some help during the weekend, I will definitely do it again."
Talking about China's stringent measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Mcilmoyle thinks it's necessary "because China has a such huge population."
"If the virus is allowed to spread to everyone, the hospitals will obviously be packed. The quarantine and lockdown solve this problem."
Mcilmoyle came to China in 2017, after graduating from university, because he wanted to travel around and live in some different places unfamiliar to him.
He has been to many places across China, including Yunnan, Guizhou, and Hainan provinces as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. He enjoys recording his experiences and interactions with people he encounters during his travels, and uploading them online.
He lived in Shenzhen first. But the COVID-19 outbreak stranded him in Indonesia, where he had gone for a short vacation, for almost a year. On returning to China, he found his current job, moved to Shanghai and fell in love with a Chinese girl.
Mcilmoyle loves his life in Shanghai. During weekdays, he can relax and enjoy the peace and natural beauty of Anting New Town. He visits downtown on weekends.
He stated that the Bund and former French Concession areas, such as Yongkang Road, are his favorite areas in Shanghai. The British expat is quite enjoying life in China, "so there's no need to move to somewhere else."