In China’s largest city, Shanghai, doctors are said to be removing positive children from their families and placing them in quarantine centres. Parents have no idea what is happening to their children. reports Reuters.
Esther Zhao thought she was doing the right thing when she brought her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to a Shanghai hospital with a fever on March 26.
Three days later, Zhao literally had to beg the medical authorities not to take the little girl to him. The girl was HIV positive and the doctors decided she should take her to a quarantine center for children. Even though the mother tried to convince them that her daughter was still too young for that.
The doctors then threatened to leave Zhao in the hospital while sending her to the center if she did not agree to transport the girl. They were later transferred to the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center in Jinshan.
Since then, Zhao has only received a brief message that the child is fine, sent via group chat with doctors. This despite repeated requests for information from Zhao and her husband. He is in a separate quarantine site after also testing positive.
“There were no pictures at all… I am so worried I have no idea where my daughter is“Zhao said through tears on Saturday.” She is still stuck in the hospital where she arrived last week. “The doctor said Shanghai rules state that children should be sent to designated places. Adults go to quarantine centers and children are not allowed“She says.
Traumatic photos leaked
Zhao panicked even more after images of crying children at a Shanghai medical facility spread to China. According to the anonymous poster, they were children who tested positive for covid and were separated from their parents in Jinshan.
Photos and videos posted on Chinese social media Weibo and Douyin showed moaning children restrained in threes. In one video, a whimpering toddler walks out of a room with four beds leaning against the wall. Although several adults can be seen in the videos, they outnumber the number of children. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the footage, but a source close to the facility confirmed that it was taken at a facility in Jinshan.
However, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center said the photos and videos circulating on the internet were not from the “Jinshan Quarantine Center”. These are images taken as the hospital moved its children’s ward to another building to cope with the growing number of pediatric COVID patients.
The reason was “improve the hospital environmentThe hospital said on its official WeChat account on Saturday. She added that she had organized more pediatric staff and would strengthen communication with the children’s parents.
“Pediatric patients admitted to our hospital… have guaranteed medical care and their daily needs are taken care of“She says.
Communicate with parents online
Later on Saturday, the disputed WeChat rumor in Shanghai, backed by China’s Cyberspace Bureau, released four photos. These are supposed to show the current situation of children in the center of Jinshan.
One of the photos showed young children sitting and standing around the beds, which were neatly arranged in two rows. But there were no adults on it. Another photo shows a person in protective gear caring for a baby lying in a crib. The other two photos show only one adult, also in protective gear.
The Shanghai government referred Reuters to the hospital’s statement and declined to comment.
A Shanghai health official said last week that hospitals treating children with covid had maintained online communication with their parents.
On Saturday, the original Weibo post had been deleted, but thousands of people continued to comment and forward the images. “It’s awful“said one of them.How could the government come up with such a plan?“Said another.
They also separated three-month-old children
According to contributions from the WeChat Quarantine Hospital Group, shared children as young as three months old are in some cases separated from breastfeeding mothers by Reuters.. There are eight children with no adults in a room described in the article.
In another case, more than 20 children from a Shanghai kindergarten aged 5 to 6 without parents were sent to the quarantine center, a source familiar with the situation said.
According to CNN, similar practices are taking place in Hong Kong, which is also battling the strongest wave of covid to date.
Since the last epidemic broke out in Shanghai about a month ago, authorities have locked down 26 million residents in a two-stage lockdown that began on Monday.
Although the number of cases in Shanghai is low by global standards, Chinese authorities have vowed to stick to “dynamic customs clearance”. Its aim is to centrally test, monitor and quarantine all positive cases.
Foreign consulates from the United States, France and Italy have warned their citizens in Shanghai that families could be split.
On Saturday April 1, Shanghai reported 6,051 locally transmitted asymptomatic cases of covid and 260 symptomatic cases, compared to 4,144 asymptomatic cases and 358 symptomatic cases the previous day.