Checkpoint staff brave harsh conditions while keeping city safe

Measuring temperatures, checking ID cards and reviewing registration information, 55-year-old Xia Ruilin repeats these acts at least 300 times a day.

He is the oldest volunteer at the Fengjing checkpoint on the G60 Hukun Expressway in Songjiang District, and his duty is checking the temperatures and information of each driver and passenger entering the city.

His work requires him to stand at least eight hours per day, which is no easy assignment for him, who normally works at the Yexie Town office for disabled people in Songjiang.

Despite his age, Xia applied to be a volunteer at the checkpoint without hesitation.

"I want to make my contribution in the battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic," he told Shanghai Daily. "Only two staff at my office are men, and there was no reason to shirk."

Xia said his back aches after a day of standing, and sudden plummeting temperatures and snowy weather over the weekend made the situation even more difficult.

"My raincoat was blown away by strong winds, and my clothing was totally soaked by snow and rain," he said. "My hands are frozen to numbness, and my protective glasses are full of vapor due to the low temperature.

On some night shifts, he works from 7:30pm to 2am.

"It's often difficult to walk even a step after a day's work due to the long-time standing, and my eyesight is not good," said Xia. "But I never regret my decision."

Indeed, Xia is like a well-trained solider and steadfastly sticks to procedure.

"36.8 degrees: normal," Xia said loudly to a medical worker at his side after taking the temperature of one driver. He then asked for information about the driver's recent travel history and checked his registration information carefully.

After he finished checking all people in the vehicle, he quickly moved to the one behind it.

"I don't want to make drivers wait," Xia said.

While Xia's duty is to help people reach their destinations in Shanghai safely, he has not returned to his own home since January 27 due to concerns of potential infection to his own family members.

"I do not tell my father I am working at the checkpoint because he will worry," Xia told Shanghai Daily.