Baby death in China sparks anger on social media over ‘zero Covid’ rules | China

The death of a four-month-old baby in central China has stoked public anger on social media as frustrations mount over Beijing’s strict ‘dynamic zero Covid’ policy, which has locked down millions of people in their homes and sparked angry demonstrations.

The girl died after suffering from vomiting and diarrhea while quarantined at a hotel in the city of Zhengzhou, according to a message from her father, Li Baoliang, on the Chinese Twitter-like platform Weibo on Wednesday.

Li had called an emergency hotline for help after her daughter vomited repeatedly in the early hours of Monday, but when medical staff arrived and the child tested negative for Covid-19 , they refused to process her on the grounds that the case was not urgent. An ambulance eventually arrived overnight, but took two hours to take the baby to a hospital 60 miles away.

By the time a doctor inspected the baby, it was almost 12 hours after Li first sounded the alarm. The doctor still did not treat the child immediately and shortly after midnight the father found that the baby’s body had turned cold. She was pronounced dead in the early hours of Tuesday after medical personnel failed to revive her, he wrote.

“This is a huge shock to us. I couldn’t accept this,” Li wrote, urging authorities to investigate the incident. “I want justice for my child!”

The news came just weeks after a three-year-old boy died of carbon monoxide poisoning in northwest China. Earlier this month, his father accused Lanzhou city health workers of “indirectly killing” his son by preventing him from taking the boy to hospital.

Although China relaxed some Covid rules last week, frustrations over the prolonged measures continued to turn into public displays of discontent. On Monday evening, hundreds of people in southern China’s metropolis Guangzhou broke through lockdown barriers and marched through the streets in a rare protest. Videos of sometimes violent clashes between angry residents and local Covid control officers are ubiquitous on social media pages.

Rare unrest in Chinese city of Guangzhou as people protest Covid restrictions – video

To address growing public outrage, the government last week told local authorities to refrain from arbitrarily and indiscriminately enforcing anti-virus policies, but senior officials have also repeatedly insisted that China’s “war” against the pandemic remains firmly in place.

Netizens are expressing their anger at Covid policies and officials responsible for the baby’s death. “The pandemic has been going on for three years and people are still dying because they were denied treatment,” one person wrote on Weibo. “Covid control workers: do you have a heart? Do you have children? We cooperate when you impose lockdowns. We cooperate when you want us to do PCR tests. But how many of you have thought about our feelings?

The Zhengzhou health commission told the official China Newsweek magazine that it was investigating the incident.

A spike in infections over the past two weeks has led officials in different parts of China to confine families to their cramped apartments or order people to be quarantined if a single case is discovered at their workplace or home. piece.

On Thursday, the government reported 23,276 new cases across China, including 20,888 without symptoms. This included 9,680 in Guangzhou, the biggest hotspot this week.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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