40 million online 'overseers' watch Wuhan speed building new hospitals for coronavirus patients

By Shan Jie Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2020/1/30 9:36:32

Internet users show confidence in battling the epidemic: experts

Online audience reached 40 million by 10pm Wednesday. Photo: Screenshot of CCTV

More than 40 million people in China have been watching livestreams of workers in Wuhan rushing to build two new hospitals for novel coronavirus patients, showing their support in the battle.

Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, is now building the Huoshenshan hospital and the Leishenshan hospital which will specialize in treating coronavirus patients.

China Central Television (CCTV) has been providing livestreams of the construction, which have gradually attracted millions of online viewers.

The online audience has once reached over 40 million.

The severe symptoms of the coronavirus have confined many people in China indoors during Spring Festival, normally a time when people travel back to their hometown, visit relatives and friends or enjoy other leisure activities for celebrations.  Many of them have chosen to watch the livestreams to kill time instead, as well as to cheer on those who are confronting the virus.

Comments such as "You are the heroes," "Cheer up, Wuhan!" and national flag emojis are typical on the bullet screen.  

Some Net users have even made up nicknames for the trucks working on the construction sites. Fan groups have been formed to cheer on the vehicles. The audience call themselves "online overseers."

On Thursday, CCTV added a function of a supporting rank list. Audiences could vote for their favorite construction vehicle while watching the stream.

A post introducing nicknames for the trucks has garnered more than 30,000 reposts on Sina Weibo as of press time.

"Song Huizong," or literally "king of cement mixers," has been used to describe cement mixers on the construction sites. "Han Wudi," or "welding king," is the nickname of the electric welding work groups. Song Huizong and Han Wudi were both Chinese emperors in ancient times.

Even the three trees on the site are named "Wu Sangui," literally meaning "three osmanthus trees." Wu Sangui was a general in the 17th century.

Among the trucks, "Folkchan," the forklift, tops the rank list. Folkchan's fans appreciate the small trucks' diligent work all around the construction site.

"Let's guard the prettiest and most hard-working folkchan in the world!" wrote a Sina Weibo user under the hashtag "folkchan," which had 14 million views and more than 9,000 comments as of press time. Fans even made fan art and emojis for the forklifts.

"Joining in the construction process shows the people's confidence in Chinese efficiency," Shi Wenxue, a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy and a culture critic, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Shi said the nicknames for the trucks are more than entertainment. "In 10 days, the two hospitals are being built from scratch and are expected to be put into use and save patients' lives. It also gives net users a sense of pride and achievement."

"The participation of 'overseers' shows young Chinese people's concern regarding the epidemic," Shi said. "They would be warriors given in any battle situation."

The Huoshenshan hospital, of which the design finished on January 24, will open around February 2. It is expected to provide 700 to 1,000 beds. Its built-up area will be 33,900 square meters. Around 700 managerial personnel and 4,000 construction workers have been working on Huoshenshan site, the Economic Daily reported Wednesday.

The Leishenshan hospital will be 75,000 square meters and could provide up to 1,600 beds, said the Economic Daily. Around 4,900 people and 1,000 construction machines are working on the site, according to the Wuhan publicity department on Thursday.

The two hospitals are said to be the Wuhan version of Xiaotangshan Hospital. In 2003, to confront SARS, the Xiaotangshan Hospital in Beijing's suburbs was built up in seven days and received one seventh of the total SARS patients in the country in two months.

Screenshot of people showing their support of "Folkchan," the forklifts working on the construction sites of the new hospitals in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province

Screenshot of people showing their support of "Folkchan," the forklifts working on the construction sites of the new hospitals in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province


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