Lu, 99, has lived at Donghai Elderly Care Hospital in Shanghai for a long time, her loved ones assure her that she receives 24-hour care in the largest such center of the city.
That was before COVID-19 hit China’s largest city last month, the country’s worst outbreak since the virus emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, infecting multiple patients, doctors and health care providers at the 1,800-bed facility.
Babysitters posted cries for help on social media, saying they were overwhelmed. Relatives told Reuters that several people had been killed.
Lu, whose relatives asked to be identified by her last name only, had coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. She contracted COVID and, although she had no symptoms, was transferred to an isolation center, her family was told on March 25.
She died there seven days later, the cause of death listed as her underlying medical conditions, her granddaughter said.
One of the questions she has about Lu’s final days was why elderly patients had to be quarantined separately from the caregivers most familiar with their conditions under China’s quarantine rules.
Her frustrations mirror those of many about China’s non-tolerant COVID policy. Anyone who tests positive must be quarantined in specialized isolation locations, whether they show symptoms or not.
Shanghai has become a test case for the country’s strict policies. Home quarantine is not an option and until the public outcry sparked change, Shanghai separated COVID-positive children from their parents.
From March 1 to April 9, China’s financial center reported some 180,000 locally transmitted infections, 96% of which were asymptomatic. It reported no deaths for the period.
A Donghai employee who answered the phone on Sunday declined to answer questions and forwarded Reuters to another department, which did not respond to repeated calls.
Asked for comment, the government of Shanghai sent a local media report with a first-person account of life in one of the quarantine centers. The unidentified author said he wanted to allay fears that such sites were terrible, said he was getting adequate meals and medicine, but advised people to bring earplugs and eye masks.
The authorities made no further comment.
The United States has expressed concern about China’s response to COVID-19, advising its citizens on Friday to reconsider travel to China “due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19 restrictions.” Beijing dismissed the US concerns as “baseless allegations”.
“Don’t Dare To Believe It”
When Lu was quarantined, the family asked, “Who’s going to take care of her? Will there be caregivers, doctors?” her granddaughter said. “My grandmother is not someone who can live independently.
“If the rescuer had COVID and no symptoms, why couldn’t they stay together?” she said. “The chaos and tragedies happening in Shanghai this time really amount to brutal policies.”
A relative of Donghai patient Shen Peiying, who gave his surname Qiu, said he believes the quarantine policy contributed to the bedridden 72-year-old’s death on April 3.
She had not contracted COVID, he said, citing test data he saw on the Chinese health app. After weeks of little communication, staff called to say Shen had died of a chest infection.
Qiu has refused to consent to her cremation, citing unanswered questions such as what care she received after her regular caregiver was quarantined.
“If they were all in quarantine, who was there to take care of the patients?” said Qiu.
Shanghai is doubling down on quarantine policies by converting schools, recently completed condominiums and huge exhibition halls into centers, the largest of which can host 50,000 people. Authorities said last week they have set up more than 60 such facilities.
These steps, including sending patients to quarantine sites in neighboring provinces, were greeted by the public with a mixture of awe at their speed and disgust at the conditions, prompting some Shanghai residents to allow home quarantine.
While Chinese state media has shown hospitals with only two or three patients per room, patients like those sent to Shanghai’s gigantic exhibition centers say they live side by side with thousands of strangers, with no walls or showers and with ceiling lights always on. to be.
Videos posted on Chinese social media show hastily converted quarantine sites, including a dilapidated derelict factory that housed a number of camp beds, a site made from shipping containers and a school with a poster stating that blankets and hot water were unavailable.
A source verified the first video. Reuters could not independently verify the others.
The management of such sites is a concern.
A viral video last week showed patients at a site called Nanhui Makeshift Hospital vying for supplies. Reuters could not reach the facility for comment on Sunday.
Among those who posted on social media was Li Tong, a resident of Shanghai, who asked for help after his wife was sent there. He said things got better when more staff arrived to organize the patients, but he was shocked by what the videos showed and what his wife told him.
“I couldn’t believe that Shanghai could be like this in 2022,” he said.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)