BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic has hit more than 170 countries and regions around the world, an increasing number of medical workers are braving the risk of exposure to the virus to treat patients.
The public has hailed them as heroes and expressed their gratitude through a variety of means, from light shows to pop-up events.
On Saturday evening, lights on the Eiffel Tower in Paris spelled out "Merci," or "thanks," in honor of health care workers. Other French cities like Toulouse, Lyon, Nice and Strasbourg have also expressed gratitude publicly.
The British public launched the "Clap for Our Carers" campaign -- a mass round of applause on Thursday night, when thousands of people across the country appeared at doorsteps, windows, gardens and balconies in a show of appreciation to doctors, nurses and all other people involved in tackling COVID-19.
Earlier this month, folk across Italy -- the hardest-hit country by COVID-19 in Europe -- kept spirits high by clapping and shouting their support on their balconies to thank medical staff.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide had exceeded 737,000 as of 1230 GMT Monday. The brave fighters in this anti-virus war are at high risk of contracting the disease, amid a rapidly increasing number of infections and a severe shortage of protective gear.
In Spain, some 12,298 health workers have been infected with the coronavirus, representing 14 percent of the country's 85,195 confirmed cases, deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra told journalists on Monday.
In Italy, the number of doctors who have died from the virus had risen to 41 with some 4,824 health workers infected by March 23, according to the Italian National Institute of Health.
Albeit under-equipped, hospital staff put aside their fear to save lives. With countries deeply concerned about a gap in health care, some doctors are crossing borders to offer a helping hand.
On March 18, a charter flight carrying 12 Chinese medical experts and over 17 tonnes of supplies headed for Milan. Including Italy, China has provided assistance to 89 countries and four international organizations, according to the China International Development Cooperation Agency.
Russia has sent about 100 experts and diagnostics and disinfection equipment on nine military aircraft to Italy on March 21.
On Saturday, Cuba sent a team of 39 doctors and nurses to Andorra, the 13th medical brigade the country has dispatched overseas to combat the pandemic.
Additionally, medical supplies, including face masks, protective gear and goggles donated from all over the world, have been distributed to medical staff in hard-hit countries.