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Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 18:22
Couple puts duty before reunion dinners
By Yuan Zheng
Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 18:22 By Yuan Zheng

Family delays Spring Festival to help fight the virus. Yuan Zheng reports for China Daily from Wuhan.

Tie Xiao, a nurse, has a video chat at about 12 pm on Feb 7, 2020, after her husband, police officer Yan Zhanfei, finishes his traffic control shift in Wuhan, Hubei province. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Spring Festival is China's biggest holiday for family reunions, but Yan Zhanfei and his wife, Tie Xiao, have not had a chance to meet their loved ones since then.

Instead, they have both been working on the front line of the fight against the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province.

Yan, a police officer, and Tie, a nurse, were both born in the 1990s. They have left their 2-year-old son with his grandparents at home, and have been living in temporary lodgings since the outbreak began last month.

Since the lockdown in Wuhan started on Jan 23, Yan has been working outdoors to keep traffic running smoothly. Only vehicles whose drivers have been issued with official permits are allowed to use the roads.

Yan grabs a quick meal in his police car while keeping an eye on traffic on Feb 6, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Meanwhile, Tie has been tending to patients in the hospital. She has insisted that she won't see her family until the outbreak has been overcome.

The couple's only contact is via video chats they fit in amid their busy work schedules.

Yan has installed a camera at home so they can see their son and parents.

Every two weeks, he goes shopping for groceries for the family. To avoid close contact, he leaves the shopping bags at the door and the grandparents usually take them into the apartment when he has left.

Once, when Yan left the shopping at the door, his son saw him and cried out for a hug. To ensure the child's safety, though, Yan had to turn his back on the boy and walk to the elevator.

"My wife and I have agreed that we will have a family reunion meal after the outbreak to make up for our lost Spring Festival dinner," he said.

Tie prepares to remove her face mask at the end of a night shift on Feb 6, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Yan waves an ambulance through on the street in Wuhan on Feb 6, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Tie tests an ECG machine in an isolation ward on Feb 6, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Yan coordinates traffic at the Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital via a camera in Wuhan on Fbe 6, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Tie and her colleagues transfer a patient on Feb 6, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Yan watches as his parents-in-law sterilize bags of groceries he has bought for them and delivered to the door of his family's apartment on Feb 7, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

Tie enters details in documents outside of a ward on Feb 6, 2020. (YUAN ZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY)

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