By Zhao Lei
The People's Liberation Army Joint Logistic Support Force has issued a full-scale mobilization order in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The force published on Tuesday its first mobilization directive since its establishment in September 2016, calling on all of its personnel, especially medics, to contribute to the fight against the pneumonia epidemic.
Per the directive, all PLA Joint Logistic Support Force personnel must follow President Xi Jinping's instructions to the military's counter-epidemic endeavors and carry out their tasks, such as treating infected civilians and providing logistics services.
They should be fully prepared and confident in the battle with the highly contagious disease, the unit said, urging members of the Communist Party of China to take the lead.
Medics are a major force in this fight, and the directive urged them to strive to race against time to save lives and also make sure they do not become infected themselves.
The PLA Joint Logistic Support Force has been making all-out efforts to purchase materials badly needed in the fight against the epidemic.
Right after the pneumonia turned into a nationwide outbreak, the force went into emergency mode and sent its purchasers to look for urgently needed materials in the market.
The purchasers asked suppliers to start and expand production as soon as possible, and they have worked with customs and the transport sector across China to speed up the import and transportation of anti-epidemic and medical materials.
Transactions for urgently needed materials have been handled with simplified procedures to accelerate the process.
The force has completed the purchase of 16 kinds of anti-epidemic and medical materials and has set up a steady supply chain for medics.
Thanks to these efforts, domestic companies are making more than 10,000 protective suits for military medical personnel each day, and over 2 million face masks have been imported from around the world.
A total of 950 medics from hospitals administered by the force and another 450 from the PLA's medical universities on Monday started running a newly constructed hospital in Hubei province's Wuhan dedicated to the novel coronavirus.
Wuhan is capital of Hubei province and the epicenter of the outbreak.
Huoshenshan Hospital, located inside Wuhan Workers' Sanatorium in Caidian district, received its first group of patients on Tuesday morning.
In another development, the impact of the epidemic has led to manpower shortages and a lack of transport capacity in Wuhan's logistics businesses, forcing the city government to ask the military for help.
In response, the PLA established a transport support team of 260 troops and 130 trucks on Sunday to help logistics companies transport daily necessities such as vegetables to supermarkets and shops in the city, which currently has a population of about 9 million.
The trucks and troops supplied by the military have also been playing important roles in the construction of three temporary hospitals in Wuhan, the PLA said. The transport support team used 50 trucks from Monday to Wednesday to carry materials to three locations in Wuhan, including a gymnasium and an exhibition center, which are being converted into hospitals to receive infected patients, the PLA said on Wednesday.
The troops worked day and night and transported thousands of beds and mattresses to the three locations, it said.