Rising to the challenge of controlling virus' spread
China Daily

Medical workers take swab samples from residents for nucleic acid test at a COVID-19 testing site in Kangcheng community, East China's Shanghai, March 19, 2022. (Photo: Xinhua)

Although she has been involved in community management for almost two decades, Zhang Junping, deputy Party secretary of Kangcheng community, Shanghai's largest neighborhood, described the fight against the latest COVID-19 outbreak as the toughest challenge of all of her tasks.

Located in Minhang district in southwestern Shanghai, the neighborhood has a population of nearly 40,000 people living in 286 residential buildings. Since March 16, the neighborhood has been put in closed-loop management and mass testing is being conducted to root out the virus.

In her role, Zhang works closely with members of the community management team to inspect markets and check if residents' daily needs are met. In the evenings, she holds meetings with team members to find solutions to problems they come across in the day.

To the 45-year-old, implementing COVID-19 pandemic prevention measures while minimizing the impact they have on the daily lives of residents is at the core of community management.

Among the most challenging tasks is arranging nucleic acid tests for residents. To do so, she has had to contact schools in the neighborhood to secure test sites large enough for hundreds of people at a time.

She has also put together a volunteer team comprising 1,200 residents of different ages to handle the myriad tasks related to epidemic prevention and control. Middle-aged and senior citizens have been put in charge of organization and coordination, while young residents have been charged with tasks that are more physically challenging.

"It's essential in community management to build a team based on trust and cooperation and leverage other people's expertise. Some residents, for example, have experience in hosting events. I am grateful to have learned much from them," she said.

There are days when Zhang is so busy that she sleeps in her office instead of returning home. But she has no qualms about the temporary hardship she has to endure.

"I can't deny that I feel exhausted every evening when returning to the office. But the next morning, when seeing volunteers doing their jobs to help ensure the safety of the neighborhood, I feel motivated and am filled with energy and joy," she said.

"On Monday, a senior in his 80s told me it's extraordinary that we have managed this large neighborhood in such an orderly manner and that he is thankful for our efforts. I get a sense of achievement when receiving such positive comments from residents. It's a test of community management and I believe this precious experience will inspire us to build a better community," she added.