Shanghai separates COVID-positive children from parents in virus fight

Three days later, Zhao asked health officials not to separate them after she and the little girl both tested positive for COVID, saying her daughter was too young to be taken to a children’s quarantine center.

Doctors then threatened Zhao that they would leave her daughter in the hospital while she was taken to the center unless she agreed to transfer the girl to the Shanghai Public Health Clinic Center in Jinshan District.

She has since received only a brief message that her daughter is doing well, sent via a group chat with doctors, despite repeated requests for information from Zhao and her husband, who is in separate quarantine after also testing positive.

“There were no pictures… I’m so concerned, I have no idea what situation my daughter is in,” she tearfully said Saturday while still stuck in the hospital she went to last week. “The doctor said that the Shanghai rules are that children should be sent to certain points, adults to quarantine centers, and you are not allowed to accompany the children.”

Zhao panics even more after pictures of crying COVID-19 positive children who were separated from their parents went viral in China.

Photos and videos posted to Chinese social media platforms Weibo and Douyin showed moaning babies being held in a cot in a threesome. In one video, a moaning toddler crawls out of a room where four cribs are pushed against one side of the wall. If there are a few adults in the videos, they are inferior to the number of children.

Reuters wasn’t able to immediately verify the footage, but a source familiar with the facility confirmed it was taken in central Jinshan.

The Jinshan center did not respond to calls from Reuters on Saturday. The Shanghai government did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

As Shanghai, China’s most populous city and major financial hub, battles the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in its history, stories like Zhao’s and the videos of the separated children are upsetting locals and raising awareness. Policy to combat the spread of the disease.

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On Saturday, the original post was removed from Weibo, but thousands of people continued to comment and post the footage. “It’s terrible,” said one. “How could the government come up with such a plan?” said another.

In some cases, children as young as 3 months are being separated from their breastfeeding mother, according to messages from a WeChat group from a quarantine hospital shared with Reuters. In a room described in a post, there are eight children without an adult.

In another case, more than 20 children, aged 5 to 6, were taken from a kindergarten in Shanghai to a quarantine center without their parents, a source familiar with the situation said.

Shanghai’s latest outbreak began about a month ago, and authorities locked down its 26 million people in a two-stage exercise that began Monday.

Although the number of cases in Shanghai is small by global standards, Chinese authorities have vowed to stick to “dynamic release”, under which they aim to centrally test, track and quarantine all positive cases.

Foreign consulates in the United States, France and Italy have warned their citizens in Shanghai that families could be separated if Chinese authorities enforce COVID-lockdown measures, according to releases from Reuters.

On Saturday, Shanghai reported 6,051 locally transmitted asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and 260 symptomatic cases for April 1, compared with 4,144 asymptomatic and 358 symptomatic cases the previous day.

The whole of mainland China reported a total of 2,129 new COVID-19 cases as of April 1, up from 1,827 the previous day.

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