Zhong Nanshan, recipient of the Medal of the Republic, arrives at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 8, 2020. China started a meeting Tuesday morning in Beijing to commend role models in the country's fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
China's renowned respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan on Tuesday morning received from Chinese President Xi Jinping the Medal of the Republic, the highest state honor, for his outstanding contribution to fighting the COVID-19 epidemic.
Zhong was described by an official statement as a leading expert in China's respiratory disease research and a "brave, outspoken and responsible doctor" who proposed epidemic prevention and control measures that saved numerous lives and made a great contribution to fighting both SARS and COVID-19.
"I would like to sincerely thank the Party and the state for granting this honor," Zhong said at a meeting to commend role models in the country's fight against the epidemic in Beijing on Tuesday morning.
"This represents the full acknowledgement of the healthcare professionals' work by the Party and the state," he said.
Zhong said there should be no relaxation in epidemic response despite the initial victory in China's COVID-19 fight, and pledged to cooperate with colleagues around the country and the world to continue working on tracing virus sources, blocking transmission routes, and developing fast diagnosis, medicines and vaccines.
Zhong was in the public spotlight in January when he announced that the novel coronavirus was transmissible from person to person, alerting society at the early stages of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Over the following months, he has led the compiling of coronavirus diagnosis and treatment plans, and made great contributions to epidemic prevention and control, treatment of severe cases, and COVID-19 research.
At 84, Zhong is still working at the very frontlines of medical service. He meets with patients at a Guangzhou hospital every week.