Shanghai health officials defended separating babies and small toddlers from their parents if they tested positive for Covid-19, as public outrage over the city’s strict virus laws intensifies.
Around 25 million people remain stranded in China’s largest city and financial centre as officials attempt to put an end to the country’s deadliest viral outbreak since the first pandemic wave ended in early 2020.
Even if they are asymptomatic or have a slight infection, everybody who tests positive for a virus in China must be segregated from non-infected people.
Health officials acknowledged on Monday that this includes children who test positive but whose family members do not, upholding a policy that has sparked concern and controversy across the city.
“If the child is under the age of seven years old, they will be treated in a public health centre,” said Wu Qianyu, a Shanghai Municipal Health Commission official.
“Infected children under the age of 7 whose parents are not infected will receive treatment in Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center away from their parents” citat Wu Qianyu fra Shanghais sundhedsmyndigheder.— Philip Khokhar (@PhilipKhokhar) April 5, 2022
“We mostly isolate older adolescents or teenagers in centralised (quarantine) facilities.” On social media, parents and guardians expressed their displeasure with the policy.
“Are parents need to meet ‘conditions’ in order for their children to accompany them?” That’s absurd… it should be their most fundamental right,” one anonymous Weibo commenter wrote.
Unverified videos of newborns and little children in government-run facilities have gone viral. Shanghai official Wu, on the other hand, claimed that the regulation was necessary for virus “prevention and control efforts.”
Children and parents who test positive will be able to stay together as a family, she emphasised.
Frustration is growing in Shanghai, the epicentre of China’s outbreak, which reported 9,000 new viral cases on Monday. Authorities first stated that they would not shut down the entire city, but rather would target virus clusters with targeted lockdowns of certain complexes or districts.
After weeks of rising case numbers, city officials admitted this week that their strategies had failed.
They implemented a two-stage shutdown, each lasting four days, to mass test both sides of the city.
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