The death of a 3-year-old child has sparked an outcry against China’s “Zero-COVID” policy

The death of a 3-year-old child has sparked an outcry against China’s “Zero-COVID” policy

  • A 3-year-old boy died after a suspected gas leak at a quarantined residential complex in Lanzhou.
  • Paramedics manning the gates did not help the boy, his father said in a blog post.
  • According to reports, the incident has fueled outrage over China’s restrictive approach to the fight against COVID.

The father of a 3-year-old boy in Lanzhou, China, said his son died of carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday after officials guarding the gates of their residential complex failed to seek medical help.

Father: Tuo Shiley shared his story via blog post on Wednesday. The incident has since sparked criticism of China’s “zero-COVID” policy, which can lead to entire districts or cities being locked down and travel severely restricted.

Around noon on Tuesday, Shilei’s wife fell ill and his son, Tuo Wenxuan, appeared to have collapsed from gas poisoning, he wrote. According to The New York Timespolice said the gas leak was due to “improper use” of a LPG stove.

Within three minutes, Shealy called 911 four times, The New York Times reported. On the fourth call, the dispatcher answered and told the man that he could only receive virtual medical care because he lived in a “high-risk” area for COVID-19.

Shiley then tried to ask for help from officials manning the gates of the apartment complex, which has been sealed off because of the virus outbreak. Los Angeles Times He described the officials as medical workers. However, Shiley wrote, the crew refused to help. They told Schiele to seek help from someone else and provide a COVID-19 test, the newspaper added.

Shiley resorted to tearing down the fence surrounding the block and enlisted the help of another person to call a taxi to get to the hospital, her post said. Shiley wrote that doctors could not revive his son, who died of gas poisoning. Shiley added that his wife has recovered.

The child’s death has sparked public outrage over China’s restrictive strategy to combat coronavirus outbreaks, according to multiple reports.

Using a “zero-COVID policy” approach, the country can impose strict city-wide lockdowns and strictly prohibit people from moving outside their neighborhoods in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus.

China has used this strategy for the past three years during the pandemic, keeping infection and death rates lower than those of other countries, including the United States. According to The New York Times, the strategy also has broad public support.

However, critics have pointed to the economic damage of the approach, while some residents in the blockaded areas say they are restricted from buying essential goods such as food. BBC reports.

According to The Los Angeles Times, one commenter on the Chinese social media app Weibo said the funds should be used “to protect life and health, not those who need to be rescued with barriers.”

Another comment stated that “the three years of the epidemic were his whole life.” reports CNN.

Lanzhou Mayor Zhang Weiwen has vowed to “open the ‘last mile'” of quarantine borders so people can seek medical care, The Los Angeles Times reported, citing the Lanzhou Daily, a government newspaper.

After the outcry, the county’s health authorities vowed to “learn deeply from the painful lessons of this accident,” according to The New York Times.

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