An employee moves molten iron at a furnace in a production area of Baowu Steel Group in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. （Photo provided to China Daily）
Situated at ground zero of the coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, China Baowu Steel Group's Wuhan headquarters has been running full steam to support the local government in combating the epidemic.
More than half of the city's liquid oxygen for medical use is provided by the steel mill.
By adjusting its technological parameters, Wugang lowered the supply of its own steel production to guarantee oxygen supply to hospitals in Wuhan, Hubei province.
As a result, liquid oxygen supply has quadrupled compared to levels seen days before the epidemic, and nearly 2,740 cubic meters of liquid oxygen was supplied to hospitals and medical organizations between Jan 28 and Feb 29, according to Liu An, executive director of Wugang.
"Wugang has been rescuing lives by supplying liquid oxygen around the clock," Zhang Wentong, deputy mayor of Wuhan.
Zhang's call was made at the liquid oxygen facility's construction site of the Huoshenshan Hospital, a hospital that was built in 10 days to receive novel coronavirus patients.
In order to ensure the oxygen supply in Huoshenshan Hospital and Leishenshan Hospital, Wugang sent a batch of its best pipe welding workers, and completed the task within five days and nights.
On the other side, a 50-member team is working at the forefront of oxygen delivery. A total of 18,000 units of oxygen cylinders and 191 liquid oxygen tanks were transported to 34 hospitals across the city between Jan 28 and Feb 29.
At the heart of the epidemic, Wugang has provided help to various hospitals and medical organizations through oxygen facility renovation, construction and maintenance, as well as production and supply of oxygen, to save lives.
Such efforts continue as the epidemic goes on and the demand for oxygen keeps growing.
"I would like to laud all employees of Wugang for their selfless help. Their strong support will definitely help us to end this epidemic soon," said Zhang.
Oxygen is an important requirement for the treatment of novel coronavirus patients, and is regarded as vital in extending lives. The current oxygen demand at Wuhan's hospitals exceed 10 times the previous daily peak volume, Peng Peng, head of Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital, said during a news conference on Feb 7.
"Fever, cough, fatigue are the main symptoms of the novel coronavirus pneumonia patients, with majority of patients finding it difficult to breath one week after being confirmed having the disease. Severe patients would appear as having acute respiratory distress syndrome," said Li Xin, director of the respiration department with China Resource &WISCO General Hospital.
"Oxygen inhalation could largely reduce the hypoxia that could lead to important organ damage," said Li.
"Wugang as an important producer and supplier of oxygen would spare no effort to ensure the supply of liquid oxygen," said Chen Derong, chairman of the China Baowu Group.
Chinese steel giant Baowu Group was the product of a merger of Shanghai-based Baosteel Group and Wuhan Iron and Steel Group (Wugang) in 2016.