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Two Xi’an Hospitals Temporarily Close for Review Due to Non-Covid Death, Miscarriage During Lockdown

© REUTERS / CHINA DAILYFILE PHOTO: Workers in protective suits stand at an entrance to a university's residential area under lockdown following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China December 20, 2021. Picture taken December 20, 2021.
FILE PHOTO: Workers in protective suits stand at an entrance to a university's residential area under lockdown following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Xian, Shaanxi province, China December 20, 2021. Picture taken December 20, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.01.2022
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A pair of medical facilities in the Chinese city of Xi’an are being forced to take a serious look at their policies after one person died and another suffered a miscarriage during a recent COVID-19-driven lockdown.
The capital of Shaanxi Province was under lockdown for several weeks beginning in mid-December, when a handful of COVID-19 cases were detected in the city, as per China’s “Zero Covid” policy intended to nip potential outbreaks in the bud.
The policy, which included a herculean effort to meet the needs of 13 million quarantined people while health officials tested every resident, tracked down every potential case, and isolated and treated those infected, succeeded at limiting the outbreak there to just 2,100 cases, including just six reported on Wednesday. No deaths from the infectious respiratory virus were recorded.
However, the policy was not without death. At Xi’an International Medical Center, a man suffering from a heart attack was refused admission for several hours due to priority being given to Covid-positive patients, according to a Weibo post by his daughter detailing the January 2 event. By the time he was admitted, it was too late, but doctors said his life could have been saved if he had been treated earlier. The incident sparked public outcry about the hospital’s strictness.
In two other instances, pregnant women were also denied access to a hospital facility, resulting in miscarriages. In one instance, an eight-month pregnant woman at the Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital was refused admission because she lacked a Covid-negative test result, according to a Weibo post by the woman’s niece.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Shaanxi Women’s Federation said it would look into the incident, and the city announced on January 5 that city hospitals should provide treatment and open “green lanes” and hotline services for pregnant women and patients with critical illnesses such as heart attacks.
In addition, Gaoxin Hospital General Manager Fan Yuhui was suspended and the heads of the outpatient department and medical department were fired, Liu Shunzhi, head of the city’s health department, said in a public statement at the time. A total of 31 officials were punished in some way.
Liu made the statement in front of the woman who’d lost her pregnancy, bowing in apology to her for “providing poor access to medical treatment and inadequate service for those with special requirements.”
However, the rectification effort will go still further: on Thursday, the SCMP reported that the two hospitals will suspend operations for three months and that city authorities were moving to minimize the shortages created by the closures.
When other Chinese cities also detected clusters of cases in recent days, officials said they applied lessons learned from the mistakes in Xi’an, allowing all 12.5 million residents of Zhengzhou to be tested in just 6 hours’ time.
Zhang Boli, a COVID-19 specialist and president of the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, told the SCMP on December 25 that an asymptomatic “superspreader” had evaded detection for several days thanks to negligence by local authorities.

US Paper Attacks Lockdowns From World’s Most Infected City

An article in the New York Times published on Wednesday spared no effort to demonize China’s “Zero Covid” policy, focusing heavily on the two Xi’an incidents, brushing aside the rectifications, apologies, and corrections by officials to raise hue and cry about “a vast army of community workers” and officials who “now believe that they must do everything within their power to ensure zero Covid infections.”
The article's publication is highly ironic, given that New York is one of the world’s most heavily-infected places and that a totally unrestrained Covid outbreak has reached never-before-seen levels.
On December 28, the seven-day average for positive tests in New York City was 20%, an astronomically high number, and 2% of the entire island of Manhattan - home to 1.6 million people - was infected. On January 2, the same day that the Xi’an man died of a heart attack, New York recorded a seven-day average of 42,000 new cases per day.
By Wednesday, conditions in city schools had gotten so bad that students organized walk-out protests demanding the city government take measures to protect them from Covid, including allowing them to attend class remotely.
Nationwide, the situation is no better. On Tuesday, the US set a new world record of 1.4 million new cases in a single day. On Thursday, the seven-day average of new cases stood at 782,000, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Hospitalizations hit a record high as well, although many Covid-positive hospital patients had not been admitted due to Covid symptoms, meaning they likely were infected after arriving.
In the US, 842,873 people have died from Covid-19, 415,000 of whom died in the year 2021. That same year, just two people died in China of the disease, and less than 4,700 have died overall since it was detected in December 2019.
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