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Foreign Doctor Couple Become Net Celebrities in Their Fight against COVID-19 in Wenzhou
【Fonts: Large Medium Small 【Source: Wenzhou·China 【Date: 2020.06.26】

When the journalist arrived at Wenzhou Panhealth Medical Center, he saw Sumayyah and Hamad, the foreign doctor couple who had become “net celebrities”. “Hello,” he greeted them in English, planning to interview in English. Unexpectedly, Sumayyah introduced her husband and herself in fluent Chinese, “I am Sumayyah from Mauritius. And this is my husband Hamad from Pakistan!”

With her hair in a high bun, 31-year-old Sumayyah was in high spirits, speaking with body gestures occasionally. And her husband, Hamad, 35 years old, with a thick beard, always looked at her with tender smiles. On the desk stood a pair of lovers mugs, one pink and one silver-white, with the lids in Sumayyah’s favorite cat-like shape.

The two love each other, and they love China too. When the epidemic broke out during the Spring Festival, they gave up the opportunity of returning home and voluntarily stayed in Wenzhou to fight the epidemic. They said that they wanted to fight together with China! Since February 1 this year, they had worked at Wenzhou South Expressway Exit for epidemic prevention screening, registering information of drivers, and measuring their body temperature.

Danger lurked during their volunteer service. One day, when a man about 60 years old got off the expressway, Sumayyah motioned him to roll down the window, asked him information like where he came from and where he had been, and required him to take temperature. The thermometer showed that the man was having a fever. The man was a little emotional, waving his hand, “NO! NO! This is not accurate.” Sumayyah tried to pacify him by saying, “It doesn’t matter, maybe the temperature in the car is a little high. Please get off the car and have another test.” However, the second measurement showed that the driver’s temperature was still high. In the end, the driver was taken to the hospital and diagnosed as contracting COVID-19.

This incident even incurred a quarrel between the couple. When the driver’s confirmation of COVID-19 came, Sumayyah got fidgety. Hamad, who has always been gentle, couldn’t help but blame Sumayyah. “When checking the ID card, you were too close,” he said, “You also touched your nose with your hand!” Suma, who is optimistic, was aggrieved, and admitted that she was not prudent enough. Later, she followed the protection procedures more strictly, and recorded her anti-epidemic experience at front line one by one.

At that time, Sumayyah’s family was very worried about her. Sumayyah’s mother demanded the couple to hurry home in a video call. After considering for a long time, however, Sumayyah decided to stay in China. She said that the Chinese government has strong appeal and the people are united and self-disciplined. If China is compared to a boat, the Chinese people on the boat paddle in the same direction. With the experience of fighting against SARS, China, in her view, has the ability to defeat the virus.

Soon, Sumayyah and Hamad devoted themselves to a new round of fight against the epidemic. In her free time, Sumayyah replaced her profile photo on foreign social media with a photo of her wearing protective clothing as a volunteer, and shared her experience of participating in the epidemic prevention screening. For Hamad, he told his family members accurate information about the epidemic such as the mortality rate of the epidemic and the number of people diagnosed each day. “Seeing this, my relatives and friends then rested assured that it was safe in China,” they said.

In late March, the epidemic in Mauritius became severe. Sumayyah immediately posted a short video on social media, detailing her experience of epidemic prevention in China, such as “maintaining a safe distance from strangers”, “trying to stay at home and work from home as much as possible” and “wearing a mask in public”. She also went to Wenzhou Sixth People’s Hospital, a designated hospital for epidemic treatment, to study epidemic prevention expertise and sent her study notes to doctors and friends in Mauritius, Pakistan and other countries. To encourage people to comply with home quarantine, Sumayyah launched a funny chain game of “Quarantine Diary” on the Internet, calling on everyone to share interesting anecdotes. After she released the Biryani meal and other delicacies she made, more than 8,000 posters followed on the heels, including a dance video and a “micro-class” teaching video.

In this way, the couple became “net celebrities” and their fame grew. At the end of March, Sumayyah received a phone call from the Director of Public Health of the Ministry of Health and Wellness of the Republic of Mauritius, who praised her for her courage and told her the epidemic in her hometown. When learning the shortage of the epidemic prevention materials for the medical staff in her hometown, Sumayyah immediately sought help from her hospital. Thanks to the support of the Wenzhou government, a batch of medical masks, protective clothing, goggles and other materials were shipped to Mauritius and Pakistan.

On May 14, Sumayyah and Hamad were invited by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries as Asian-African volunteer representatives of anti-epidemic in China to visit Beijing and share their story of anti-epidemic. They will also participate as representatives in the theme report on meritorious deeds of “Exciting the Spirit of Wenzhouese in the New Era” organized by relevant departments in Wenzhou.

Staff of Baixiang Street in Ouhai District sent the honorary certificate to the couple to thank them for their voluntary actions in epidemic prevention and control

Sumayyah came to China at the age of 18, spent eight years studying at Wenzhou Medical University and obtained a master’s degree in clinical medicine. Hamad studied at School of Medicine, Zhengzhou University. The two met in China and fell in love, came to work together in Wenzhou Panhealth Medical Center, and finally chose to live in Wenzhou. They have plenty of memory of Wenzhou, for example, the water of Nanxi River, the breeze of the island of Dongtou, the noodle with toppings at the entrance of their residential quarters, to name a few. They also love Chinese food, fish slices boiled in hot sauce was Sumayyah’s favorite while steamed fish head with diced hot red peppers was Hamad’s; they both like hot pot. Just as Sumayyah said, “We are already very ‘Chinese’, and our hearts are with China.”

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