It's an unwritten rule that volunteer drivers in Wuhan must wear masks, gloves, goggles and protective clothing. (Photo: CHINA DAILY)
Since the onset of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, most people have avoided going out in order to reduce the risk of becoming infected.
Healthy residents know it is vitally important not to go to hospitals in the city, where many infected patients are being treated, unless it is absolutely necessary.
However, a group of local volunteer drivers is doing exactly this by shuttling doctors and nurses between their homes and hospitals free of charge. As these medical professionals are in contact with patients every day, it means that the drivers have an increased risk of exposure to the virus.
Wuhan's public transportation system－including a subway, buses and ferries－has been suspended since Jan 23, with air and rail links into and out of the city virtually cut off.
Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang said at a news conference on Friday that more than 60,000 medical professionals in the city are treating patients with the virus and working to contain the outbreak.
"I was worried how medical professionals would commute to work. How can soldiers fight a war if they can't make it to the battlefield?" said Huang Xiaomin, organizer of the Wuhan 123 Volunteer Motorcade, so-named because he came up with the idea on Jan 23.
Along with Huang, some public-spirited citizens in the city have volunteered to drive doctors and nurses to work and to transport medical supplies to hospitals.