Social Media Reactions

Coronavirus Outbreak: 9 month pregnant nurse working, shaved heads sparks outrage

A video featuring a pregnant nurse treating patients in a hospital in the virus epicentre of Wuhan has sparked a backlash across China.

State media outlet CCTV had last week released a video featuring Zhao Yu, who works in the emergency ward at a military hospital in Wuhan.

But instead social media users criticised the hospital for allowing a nine-month pregnant nurse to work in a highly contagious environment.

The video shows her walking around the hospital in a hazmat suit while heavily pregnant. She’s seen making the rounds and testing a patient who is later sent to the fever department. The patient is heard telling her not to work as it is “dangerous”.

Zhao Yu acknowledges in the video that her family objects to her continuing to work, but adds that she hopes to do her part in fighting the virus.

But the video – which was meant to be a touching tribute to her self-sacrifice – touched a nerve, with many accusing the broadcaster of using her story as a form of “propaganda”.

“Can we stop all this propaganda? Who made the decision that this video was okay? Pregnant women should not be [on the frontlines], that’s it,” another said.

“What is this, a show for political purposes? Don’t send a woman who is nine months pregnant to do this,” said one comment.

“I really think that this message… blindly advocating women to fight on the frontlines regardless of their health… it’s really sick,” one person said.

And it’s not the only video that has got netizens angry.

Another video posted this week by state-owned media outlets in Gansu showed several female nurses weeping as they had their heads shaved.

The video explained that the head-shaving exercise took place so it would be easier for women to wear protective head gear while treating patients.

But many doubted the logic of this, asking why women couldn’t simply have short hair instead of shaving their heads off entirely. Others asked why there weren’t videos of men having their heads shaved.

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