Every 6:40 am, Shan Yuhou will call his co-worker to discuss work plans for the day. But he didn’t make that call on February 22.
Shan Yuhou (L2) (Photo provided to the People's Daily)
Shan Yuhou, director of the Bureau of Emergency Management in Binhai New District, died from cardiac arrest as a frontline official fighting the coronavirus outbreak in Tianjin.
Shan was one of the officials who helped test the COVID-19 for 4,806 people on a cruise ship called Costa Serena within 24 hours on New Year’s Eve, when the epidemic was just in its early stages of development.
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Shan has also worked on a range of tasks round the clock, including coordinating the distribution of emergency supplies from Beijing, inspecting the working conditions of local enterprises returning to business amid the epidemic.
“After our work meeting around 6 pm on February 21, I noticed that he looked really tired,” Zhang Jinkuan, a co-worker of Shan for 12 years, said. “I insisted that he take some rest, telling him I’ll be there to receive the emergency supplies. He agreed eventually but asked me to call him if there’s any emergency.”
“I said ‘take a hot shower and get some sleep. And call me if there’s anything wrong and I’ll take you to the hospital,’” Zhang recalled. “But he said he’s fine and can wait after reporting to the District Head.”
The 58-year-old veteran had already undergone a heart surgery. But whenever there’s a phone call for work, Shan would go to the frontline.
“I called him everyday to remind him not to forget to take his medicine on time,” Yang Jian, wife of Shan, said while sobbing. “But our calls never lasted more than two minutes. Sometimes before I even finished my sentence, he would say, ‘I have to go, talk to you later’, and then he would hang up.”
Shan had served in the army for more than three decades. His son, Shan Peng, is a member of the auxiliary police in the coastal city and also works on the frontline against the outbreak.
“He promised to stay with me when he retires the next year,” Yang said. “Now he’ll never be able to keep his word.”