Benefactor helps ramp up output of masks

Yang Wenjie
The public has been mobilized to prevent and control the novel coronavirus outbreak, and many Minhang residents are rising to the call.
Yang Wenjie

The public has been mobilized to prevent and control the novel coronavirus outbreak, and many Minhang residents are rising to the call.

Zhou Chao’en and his wife Zhang Li have donated more than 300,000 face masks to hospitals around the country, particularly those in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic.

Zhou is general manager of Shanghai Energy Information Technology Co, a company based in the Xinzhuang Industrial Park.

At the end of January, when he began to hear about the scarcity of face masks, Zhou and his wife decided they were going to do something to help.

Through his connections at the park, Zhou contacted a manufacturer in Jinshan District and made a deposit of 100,000 yuan (US$14,326.03) for an order of 300,000 masks on the eve of the Lunar New Year. Production began immediately.

Benefactor helps ramp up output of masks

Workers count masks at a factory in Jinshan for the special order placed by Zhou Cao’en and his wife to help doctors in the battle against the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, the couple began calling hospitals in Wuhan based on online information and ended up getting in touch with the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine through a recommendation from a friend.

After the second day of production, the first batch of 80,000 masks was already on its way to Wuhan.

“There is a special hotline for such deliveries, but it is always busy and we couldn’t wait, so I just paid for direct delivery myself,” Zhou said.

Zhou later donated another 30,000 masks to the Hubei city of Xiangyang and 10,000 to Jingmen, which is also in the province.

He also contacted the 5th People’s Hospital of Shanghai and the Central Hospital of Minhang District and donated 10,000 masks to each of them.

Upon learning that staff doing temperature check at the expressway toll booths were in urgent need of masks, the couple sent 2,000 masks to the city’s transportation department.

Zhou and his wife have been careful to vet information they obtain online.

“We want to ensure that the information is true and that our donations all go through reliable channels,” Zhou said. “We are all safe when doctors are safe.”

The factory in Jinshan has since been requisitioned to make masks for the government. Zhou and his wife consider their job done.

“We were obliged to do something in a time like this,” he said. “We have friends joining the medical teams in Wuhan, and I think theirs is the greater effort.”

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