Xi to present medals to outstanding individuals in COVID-19 fight

China, September 6:

China will hold a ceremony to honor individuals and groups who fought bravely in the country’s battle against the COVID-19 epidemic on Tuesday morning in Beijing. During the event, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to confer the Medal of the Republic and other honorary titles to heroes who made outstanding contributions to the fight.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, is also scheduled to deliver an important speech at the ceremony to be held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.

At the event, exemplary individuals and groups, as well as outstanding Party members and Party groups will be also honored, the report said.

The ceremony is a recognition of every Chinese effort in the battle against the novel coronavirus as well as the fact that China has achieved a phased victory, Zeng Guang, former chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times on Sunday.

 “This fight against COVID-19 depicts the unity of the Chinese people when facing difficulties. Beyond the surface of those who are about to be awarded, there are many individuals and organizations who have shown dedication in labs, patient beds and in fighting the virus day and night without being noticed by media and others.” 

While the overseas epidemic is not over, China has been able to win a phased victory thanks to every Chinese citizen who followed the scientific guidance of the Chinese government, and because the Chinese government listens to and respects the voices of science, experts said.  

But the fight against the novel coronavirus is not over while the virus continues to wreak havoc outside China and foreign nations have not managed to get through the epidemic, Zeng said, calling on Chinese residents to remain vigilant of the virus in their daily lives and prepare for a long-term battle.

On August 11, President Xi signed a presidential order awarding four persons the national medal and honorary title for their outstanding contribution to fighting the epidemic.

The Medal of the Republic, the highest state honor, was conferred on renowned respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan. Along with Zhong, China’s top medical adviser Zhang Boli, top Chinese vaccine researcher Chen Wei and Zhang Dingyu, dean of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, were awarded national honorary titles, “the People’s Hero.”

During the COVID-19 epidemic, Zhong dared to speak up, pointed out the phenomenon of “person-to-person transmission,” and placed great emphasis on strict prevention and control measures, the working committee for the granting of honors said in a statement on soliciting public opinion on August 3.

Zhang Boli, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and one of the top consultants in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in Central China’s Hubei Province, recommended the use of traditional Chinese medicine in treating the novel coronavirus, achieving remarkable results and making great contributions to the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Infectious disease expert Chen Wei from the Institute of Biotechnology under the Academy of Military Medical Sciences was awarded the national honorary title for her contributions to basic research and vaccines for COVID-19. The vaccine developed by Chen Wei’s team became the first in the world to disclose complete phase one clinical trial results, and declare a dual immune response in recipients.

And Zhang Dingyu, who is a deputy head of the Hubei Provincial Health Commission and dean of the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, helped gain time for the country by confirming the unknown pneumonia as the novel coronavirus.

Jinyintan is a major hospital treating coronavirus patients in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei that first reported COVID-19 cases in China. During the epidemic, Zhang concealed his amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and insisted on working on the frontline, winning praise as a “Superman President” by hospital colleagues.

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