Upon learning that couriers are needed in Shanghai while it fights its latest COVID-19 outbreak, Qi Shuailong, a courier for e-commerce enterprise JD in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, volunteered to lend a helping hand without hesitation.
China's economic and financial hub, Shanghai is battling a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, with the city reporting a total of 535,600 confirmed and asymptomatic infections as of Tuesday, according to the city's health commission.
With temporary closed-loop management in place to stem the spread of infections, residents have had to grapple with difficulties in purchasing groceries, which in turn put strain on local couriers due to a surge in online orders.
To ease the burden, JD has dispatched over 3,000 delivery workers from across the country to Shanghai in recent days, and Qi is one of them.
The 36-year-old courier, together with about 200 other delivery personnel from different provinces and regions including Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang, rushed to Shanghai to help with packaging and the timely delivery of basic necessities to the locals.
Their arduous working day typically begins at 6:30 am and ends at 9 pm. "Each delivery person handles around 200 parcels every day and the majority of goods are basic necessities like rice, flour and milk," Qi told Xinhua News Agency via a video link.
Due to the stringent anti-epidemic restrictions, couriers are forbidden from the in-person delivery of parcels. Instead, they need to write down the customer's name, room number, or building number on parcels which are then passed on to customers by community workers.
"Some residents have noticed that our phone numbers are from other cities, and they sent messages to express their gratitude for our assistance," said Qi, noting that the kind gestures have greatly encouraged them.
These couriers have gone to extraordinary lengths to help out during the epidemic fight. The day Qi left Xi'an for Shanghai, his 3-year-old son underwent eye surgery. "As an ordinary logistics worker, I have volunteered to do my part," Qi said.
Online food delivery platforms Meituan and Ele.me have also joined hands with the city authorities to provide daily necessities for the residents. Driverless vehicles have been deployed to ensure the contactless delivery of goods.
"The number of parcels delivered in recent days has been stabilized with a momentum of growth," Bian Zuodong, a senior official with the State Post Bureau, told a news conference on Tuesday, adding that more efforts will be made to ensure the last-kilometer delivery of supplies.