Tales of anguish emerge from China's locked-down Xian, as hospitals demand patients be covid-free - The Washington Post

But by then, the woman had miscarried, said the post from her niece, which was deleted after gaining nearly 6 million views. Neither woman was identified, and The Washington Post was unable to independently confirm details of the account. An employee of the hospital's quality-of-care department who answered the phone Wednesday said the matter has been investigated and that an official statement would be released soon.

Story continues below advertisement

The reported tragedy has tapped into mounting anguish and disbelief about dysfunction in Xian, the central Chinese city of 13 million that has imposed China's strictest all-resident lockdown since Wuhan two years ago. Nearly 1,800 symptomatic infections have been confirmed in the city after the local government ordered mass testing and centralized quarantine to halt spread of the virus.

As the rest of the world has become resigned to strategies of mitigating the virus, China has stuck fast to a policy of attempting to completely cut off transmission as soon as new outbreaks emerge, an approach it calls "dynamic zero covid."

That whack-a-mole strategy has been largely effective. The Chinese Communist Party's decision to make covid-19 prevention a top priority spurred local officials to impose rapid and severe — but relatively targeted — lockdowns whenever infections appeared. In the past year, even larger outbreaks were limited to a few hundred cases.

Story continues below advertisement

But the problems in Xian caused by the city's poorly managed, containment-at-all-costs approach are raising alarm about unacceptable human distress when the unyielding policy goes wrong.

Residents, who are confined to their homes, already feared delayed or insufficient food deliveries in some areas of the city. They are now worried that hospitals, overwhelmed with coronavirus cases, are struggling to provided adequate care to non-coronavirus patients, a repeat of similar chaotic scenes in Wuhan nearly two years ago.

By Wednesday morning, the reported miscarriage had become one of the top trending topics on Weibo, as outraged users called for the hospital to take responsibility should it become clear that the delay caused the loss.

"There are many uncertainties during the time of an epidemic, but making reasonable arrangements is the most important thing," one user wrote, using a hashtag viewed 380 million times by midday Wednesday. The Shaanxi provincial branch of the All-China Women's Federation, the Chinese Communist Party's official organization for promoting women's rights, promised an investigation.

Story continues below advertisement

Dozens of similar cries for help have appeared on Chinese social media in recent days. Another case involved an HIV patient who had a fever of up to 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 days but was turned away from multiple hospitals. He eventually received care after his family's post went viral.

On Tuesday, Jiang Xue, an independent journalist who previously worked for major outlets like Caixin Media, published an essay on her blog asking whether authorities had considered the implications for residents when they hit the "pause button" for an entire city.

She wrote about an exchange with a friend who applauded the official policy, declaring that Xian "must not retreat" in its fight against the virus. In response, Jiang forwarded a story about a daughter who lost her father to heart disease after he was refused hospital care because he was from a "medium risk" area of the city. "They should not have had to suffer this kind of pain," Jiang said.

A city government decision on Sunday to place all close contacts of confirmed cases in centralized quarantine further disrupted the deliveries of food and everyday items. In some neighborhoods, workers of the committee responsible for handing out goods tested positive, meaning they too were placed in isolation.

Story continues below advertisement

"In any case, pretty much everyone is forcing a smile," one Weibo user wrote about her family's difficulties securing food.

In response to expressions of concern, state media outlets have promoted stories of communities banding together to see through the hard times. In one viral video, a long line of people pass plastic bags of groceries, like a bucket brigade, singing a well-known Mao-era song as they work: "Without the Communist Party, there would be no new China."

But mistrust and frustration have undercut official attempts to put a positive spin on events. "If you tell me this is a normal mentality, I don't quite believe it," said a much-shared comment on the human chain video.

Story continues below advertisement

Online commentators began to talk of the failures of Xian's response as a second crisis, no worse than that of the virus. "In today's Xian, you can starve to death, can get sick and die, but you just cannot die of covid," one wrote.

Lyric Li in Seoul, and Alicia Chen and Pei Lin Wu in Taipei contributed to this report.

0/Post a Comment/Comments