As the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) continues its rapid spread around the world, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have had to sacrifice time away from their family to contain the outbreak. In China, where the new strain is believed to have originated, heartbreaking stories have emerged — newborns testing positive for the virus at birth and even a viral video of a nurse and her child exchanging an “air hug” within a quarantine zone.
In a short clip uploaded on Twitter and YouTube by Xinhua News Agency, a nurse can be seen standing meters away from her daughter with her arms extended to mimic a hug. Both are sobbing and crying as the daughter calls out, “Mom, I miss you a lot.”
The nurse is Liu Haiyan, who works at the infectious diseases unit at Fugou County People’s Hospital in Henan province. She had not seen her 9-year-old daughter Cheng Shiwen in 10 days, the Daily Mail reports. They finally reunited on January 31 but had to stand meters away from each other as a precautionary measure and to prevent the virus from spreading. (Reports say that the 2019 nCoV can spread through human contact. Click here to know more.)
Shiwen was accompanied by her dad Cheng Xiaoshen and they were visiting the hospital to deliver freshly cooked dumplings for the mom. Because they were not allowed direct contact, Shiwen had to put the dumplings on the ground so her mom can pick it up.
Despite their pitiful situation, Liu still tried to reassure her daughter. “Mom is fighting monsters,” she said. “I’ll be back home once the virus is beaten. Be good!”
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Though some users questioned the verity of the video, many others commented that it is still a glimpse of what thousands of families in China are facing right now. As of this writing, more than 28,000 cases of the 2019 nCoV have been confirmed, with the death toll standing at more than 560.