Wed, 18 May 2022

© Provided by Xinhua

TIANJIN, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Braving the fierce cold, Kwon O Sub from the Republic of Korea swings to action early in the morning, checking body temperature and health code of people entering Nankai University premises in north China's Tianjin municipality.

This is the first winter holiday that the 30-year-old assistant professor at the university is spending on campus.

On Jan. 8, a sudden resurgence of COVID-19 infections was reported in Tianjin -- a city of 14 million people -- which has disrupted the daily life of locals as well as expats. Gene sequencing found the first two locally transmitted confirmed cases were infected with the VOC/Omicron variant.

Kwon is among the foreign faculty members of the university who has volunteered to join hands with Chinese teachers and students to help guard against the virus in Haihe education park located in the city's Jinnan District, the worst-hit area in the latest resurgence.

As of Sunday, Tianjin reported a total of 294 locally transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases and 22 asymptomatic carriers.

Kwon, who is proficient in Chinese, has a deep bonding with China, having studied here since primary school when his father came to work in Guangzhou in south China.

Kwon graduated from Guanghua School of Management of Peking University and later Ohio State University in the United States. He came to work in Nankai University last year.

"When the COVID-19 cases were reported, there were more than 5,000 teachers and students on campus," said Kwon, adding that the school immediately adopted precautionary measures and initiated closed-off management for the campus.

Kwon has complied with the city's quarantine measures and undergone three citywide nucleic acid testings over the past few days.

He noted that the arrangements were not very smooth initially, and it took some twists and turns for him to register for the test using his passport.

"From the second round of the testing, however, the process became increasingly standardized. All people were arranged in the school stadium first, then they filled in their personal details and finally, went to the campus yard to undergo testing in groups," Kwon said, adding that he completed his test in the second round in just about 10 minutes.

The third round of testing was even more efficient, he noted. "People scanned their ID cards to input personal information while I could input information using my passport, without manually filling up the form. In just a few days, the efficiency of the COVID-19 prevention work had been greatly improved owing to the wisdom and strength of the local governance," Kwon said.

Impressed by the city's foolproof COVID-19 prevention and control efforts, Kwon signed up as a volunteer in the university.

He said the school management prepares the schedules to make sure each volunteer has enough time to rest, and that he is on duty every alternative day.

Kwon is stationed at the entrance of the school's east building from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. "Students come to the building to do experiments during the winter holiday. Although my work is negligible, I'm happy that I'm doing my bit to help ensure their safety and study," he said.

Kwon said he feels safe and relaxed living on campus, as the supermarket and school canteen had resumed normal operations in just a few days.

"I can feel that China attaches great importance to the safety of everybody's life. The authorities' rapid deployment and active response to emergencies have created countless miracles," said Kwon.

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