Residents of Beijing are helping each other cope with temporary shortages of medicine and supplies as the capital faces a rapid wave of COVID-19 infections.
Over the past week, as many residents have complained of high fever, body aches and coughs, the sudden surge in demand for medicines has made common drugs unavailable at pharmacies, prompting many to seek help from neighbors in chatting groups of their communities. Many residents are voluntarily sharing their extra medicines with those in need.
Lu Fajie, who lives in Chaoyang district, said that his wife had a high fever on Dec 13 and he ordered some emergency medicines online, but when the delivery was delayed, his neighbor came forward to help.
"My neighbor left four fever-reducing pills at my door when I asked for help. One feels greater warmth from a close neighbor than from a distant relative," Lu said, adding that he opened the door only after his neighbor had left to avoid the risk of spreading the infection.
In recent days, many cities and districts nationwide have urged residents to give away extra medicines to friends, relatives or strangers in need, and encouraged the spirit of sharing and caring to buffer temporary shortages.
Meanwhile, Beijing is reorganizing its delivery services amid a surge in demand for fresh food, drugs and epidemic prevention products.
District commerce departments in the city have proposed that residents, who are available and healthy, volunteer for delivery services to ease the burden on regular couriers, many of whom are ill and confined to their homes.
In Shunyi district, a campaign was launched on Dec 15, calling on members of the Communist Party of China to become volunteers at delivery stations to assist in the sorting, transporting and disinfection of express parcels.
Party members were urged to deliver emergency medicines to residents, learn about the difficulties vulnerable groups were facing and encourage people to understand and support the job of a courier.
As of Friday noon, more than 160 people in Shunyi had applied to volunteer, and 52 are on the job, according to a local media outlet.
Li Jian, a resident of Shunyi who signed up as a volunteer, now carries parcels from one express station to another in his car.
"I had recently started working from home. After learning about the problem with delivery services, I wanted to help," he told a local news website. "I made room for parcels in my car and deliver as many packages as possible."
Residents are full of gratitude for delivery agents.
"My customers treat me with great warmth, especially when I deliver parcels on cold winter nights," said Sun Hao, who works for JD Logistics, one of China's major courier companies. "Many offer me a glass of hot milk to show how grateful they are."