FEMALE NURSES at a Chinese hospital are being forced to shave their heads - to prove their determination in helping to fight Coronavirus.
Footage released online shows around 15 nurses from the Gansu Provincial Women's and Children's Hospital having their heads shaved at a ceremony.
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The nurses were preparing to leave the city of Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu, before being sent to the virus epicentre, Wuhan, to treat coronavirus patients.
It comes as some 20,000 medics from across China have been sent to Wuhan to help stop the spread of the virus.
Local newspaper Gansu Daily uploaded the footage in question to its social media account on Saturday.
It caused uproar among social media users, who criticised the hospital's requirement.
Heartbreaking footage showing the nurses welling up with emotion, with some even crying as their heads were shaved completely bald.
The hospital later claimed that all of the workers had volunteered to go completely bald as a way to prevent infection.
The facility also said the shaving of heads was a 'common practice' among medics.
One person commented: “Is this necessary? They could have bound [their hair] or had short hair.'
A spokesperson from the hospital told Red Star News on Monday: “Many web users don't know the situation, but for medical workers this is a common thing and can be observed in many places in the country.
“The most important thing is that [going bald] could prevent infection. Also, it is easy [for them] to clean.”
But a columnist from news outlet Southcn.com argued it was 'unnecessary' for them toshave their heads completely.
The comment piece read: “Considering those going [to Wuhan] are front-line medical staff, [they] should have enough knowledge to protect themselves [against the virus], therefore they should have the right to choose their hairstyle and be responsible for it.
“If medical workers can do their jobs well with combed hair. Why must they have their hair cut?”
In Februray, a new hospital in Wuhan kitted out with 1000 beds was completed in just under two weeks, according to reports.
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Fifty patients arrived at the military-run facility at the beginning of February.
State-backed newspaper China Daily published images showing workers in protective suits pushing people in wheelchairs up a ramp into the pre-fabricated structure.
And recently, an overworked medic "died from a heart attack after he worked ten days straight conducting temperature checks at motorway toll booths.
According to reports, children of medical workers applying for high school this year can receive an additional 10 points in their entrance exams - a critical bonus for enry into some of the country's top schools.
Meanwhile, younger children will be prioritised for admission at public kindergartens.
State media reported how Medics who die in the field will be designated as martyrs and their families will be entitled to compensation, according to CNN.