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        Hong Kong's ambulance fleet gives hope of life amid epidemic gloom

        2022-02-28 05:44:24 GMT2022-02-28 13:44:24(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

        HONG KONG, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- With sirens blaring and lights flashing, the ambulance fleet is what COVID-19 patients in Hong Kong most want to see. Ambulances bring them hope.

        Working 16 hours a day and having no time to eat, Lam Ka Lok, treasurer of Hong Kong Fire Services Department -- Ambulancemen's Union, told reporters that this is the normal work of ambulance workers recently because of the severity of the epidemic here.

        Since the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong, the number of calls for help has soared, and the workload of ambulance workers has multiplied several times.

        "We are doing our best because of the unprecedented outbreak of the epidemic," Lam said, noting that the Ambulance Command of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department has been fully deployed to serve the public.

        Every time when a phone rings in the ambulance station and a command is issued from the control center, it means that a citizen is in urgent need of help.

        Ambulance workers are required to wear protective clothing, medical gloves, shoe covers, goggles, headgears, face shields and N95 masks after receiving a mission to rescue COVID-19 patients.

        To avoid cross-infection, ambulances should be thoroughly disinfected after every mission, and ambulance workers should change protective clothing and have a shower.

        "Often after a bath, the phone rings again and we have no time to eat," Lam said, adding that ambulance workers would get frustrated and are worried about their families, but they have a belief that they must protect the health of Hong Kong's 7.5 million residents.

        Lam said he cannot forget those anxious faces, an elderly woman crying with joy at the sight of an ambulance, a parent calling for help at 3:00 a.m., and residents shouting "come on" to ambulance workers.

        Lam admitted that ambulance workers have encountered anger, complaints and even insults from citizens who called "999" and waited more than an hour for an ambulance because of limited vehicles and personnel.

        "The public's understanding of us is the greatest support," Lam said. "We hope more personnel, vehicles and epidemic prevention supplies can be provided to us to help more residents."

        Lam said he was very grateful to the mainland's support for Hong Kong's fight against COVID-19.

        "The central government's support is very important to boost our morale," he said. "It is our mission to protect Hong Kong residents."

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