The family was diagnosed at a county hospital that wasn’t able to treat them. “We were all transferred to a higher-level hospital in the city … the ambulance collected us directly from the county hospital and took us to the city hospital. Point to point. There was no stopover,” he said.

During his treatment, Zhang said he was constantly asking doctors about the drugs he was being given. He researched online how his treatment compared to that of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patients in 2003, to ensure he wasn’t taking medication with long-term side effects.

On February 9, after being discharged from hospital, Zhang was sent to quarantine. He was told almost all his personal belongings, including clothes, books and other items, would have to be destroyed.

So far only Zhang and his wife’s father have recovered. His wife and her mother are still in hospital.