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Even as youngsters’ deaths blamed on COVID restrictions, China responds to soaring cases with more quarantine beds

Beijing — Just weeks after authorities apologized for the loss of life of a three-year-old boy within the western metropolis of Lanzhou, who could not get emergency medical assist in time as a result of his neighborhood was considered one of many below coronavirus lockdowns, an analogous tragedy has rekindled anger over China’s draconian “zero-COVID” coverage.

A four-year-old woman who was struggling with vomiting and diarrhea in a lodge room the place she and her father have been below necessary quarantine this week in Zhengzhou, central China, died after failing to get an ambulance in time, in accordance to Chinese media. The stories stated her father waited 11 hours for assist after the emergency companies dragged their heels in dealing with his case, and after they lastly got here, she was transported to a hospital 60 miles away.

Local well being authorities stated they have been investigating the incident, which got here simply days after China revealed some changes to its strict anti-COVID measures aimed largely at luring business again to the nation. The zero-COVID coverage stays very a lot in place, nevertheless, with its acknowledged purpose being to rapidly determine individuals who have contracted the virus and their shut contacts, and instantly isolate them.

The modifications to the coverage embrace a clause stating that folks in quarantine zones shouldn’t be blocked from entry to emergency medical care.


China enforces new spherical of COVID lockdowns and guidelines

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While the newest case has drawn anger, response on China’s tightly managed social media platforms appeared divided. One widely-shared post on the Twitter-like platform Weibo argued that with out the zero-COVID coverage, the hospital can be flooded with sufferers and more individuals would endure. 

But different customers disagreed, with one noting that whereas testing optimistic for COVID usually doesn’t imply a loss of life sentence, withholding medical assist for a sick youngster can — and in at the very least two cases now, did — lead to deaths.

While the Chinese hashtag for “girl refused medical help died” had been learn 180 million instances, it was not exhibiting up within the “trending” column on the platform, one user noted, suggesting doable efforts by the federal government to bury the dialogue.

Guangzhou Continues Epidemic Prevention Efforts
A barricade blocks off the managed administration space to comprise the COVID-19 epidemic, November 14, 2022 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.

VCG/VCG/Getty


Despite the cruel measures, the variety of confirmed COVID-19 cases soared to 23,132 as of Thursday, doubling in lower than every week to the best nationwide caseload China has reported in seven months. 

Chinese authorities’ response to the rising cases seems to be even more quarantine beds.

Authorities within the metropolis of Guangzhou introduced plans on Thursday to build more quarantine services with nearly 250,000 further beds in a bid to stem the surge in cases there. The nationwide well being fee has broadly backed regional plans to improve quarantine capacities.

Residents have been dropping their persistence within the sprawling metropolis, elements of which have been below piecemeal lockdowns since early November. Earlier this week, unconfirmed movies on social media appeared to present offended crowds pushing down fences that have been confining localized areas in Guangzhou. Fencing off neighborhoods has been a typical observe in China because the starting of the pandemic in areas deemed “risky” for the unfold of the virus.

News tales noting that not a single one of many more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Guangzhou has been extreme have gone viral, main individuals to question the need of the necessary quarantines. One comment under an article on the theme reads: “The virus is not scary but stupidity is.”

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