XIAMEN -- September is almost over, but it's still baking hot in Xiamen, a port city in east China's Fujian Province. Wearing a red volunteer waistcoat and a face mask, Ana Vuksanovic, an English teacher from Serbia, was sweating in the sun.
Ana usually arrives at a private school where she works at 8 a.m. and starts her English class at 9 a.m. But due to the COVID-19 outbreak about a week ago, her daily routine has been completely disrupted.
As new cases continued to emerge in Xiamen, the city ground to a halt. Medical workers, government officials, police officers and volunteers were mobilized to fight the epidemic.
Many foreigners also joined the efforts. Vuksanovic became a volunteer for the citywide nucleic acid testing in the Shenshan community, which has registered 147 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday.
Xiamen has completed two rounds of citywide testing and the third round is underway.
Holding a piece of cardboard with a printed QR code on it, Vuksanovic moved along the queue bidding residents to scan the code, register personal information and keep the one-meter rule for social distancing.
"I want to do something for my community, especially during this special time. It's very important to do my best to help the community to get back to normal," Vuksanovic said.
Last year, Vuksanovic received a lot of help from her community when China was badly hit by the virus.
"Community workers called me from time to time to remind me of how to take prevention measures; they gave me masks and so on. The community was so nice. I really felt safe and warm," Vuksanovic said.
Vuksanovic said she did her volunteer service to return the community's kindness, and she was confident the latest outbreak would soon be beaten by the joint efforts of the whole city.
Zuzana Pavlonova from the Czech Republic is another volunteer active in the nucleic acid testing frontline in the Guanren community.
Speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese, she helped the seniors to register at the testing site.
She usually arrives at the site at 7 a.m., staying until 8 p.m.
Pavlonova said there is a WeChat group for foreigners to do volunteer work in Xiamen. Over 30 foreigners from countries such as Singapore, Germany and Italy exchange information about the wants and needs of the city.
"I think most of the foreigners who have been living in China for some time actually have this feeling of being very comfortable in China. Chinese people are very friendly, so they want to give something back to the community," Pavlonova said.
She hailed Xiamen's quick response to the epidemic, saying she appreciated China's stringent restrictions on virus control and prevention.
"Different countries might have different ideas. It's about priorities. China is indeed strict, and this is also a reason why China has been the best country so far in terms of controlling the epidemic."
She also gave the thumbs up for China's efforts last year to help other countries in their fight against the pandemic.
"We should all be grateful to China for donating masks, sharing information and experience with other countries and regions to fight the virus in different ways. We are one world, and China shoulders its responsibilities," Pavlonova said.