Anger in Shanghai over the separation of children who tested positive from their parents

Anger over strict corona measures grows in Shanghai: After massive criticism and outrage, health authorities admitted on Monday that babies and toddlers who tested positive in China’s economic metropolis were separated from their parents.

In China’s biggest city, authorities imposed a strict lockdown a week ago after a week-long spike in infections to test all 25 million residents for the corona virus. According to strict Chinese corona rules, every infected person, even if they have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, is isolated from uninfected people. This also applies to children who have tested positive but whose family members are negative, as Shanghai health authorities have now confirmed.

“If the child is under seven years old, these children will be treated at a state health center,” said Wu Qianyu of the city health commission. Older children or adolescents must therefore isolate themselves in quarantine centres.

Parents have massively complained about this procedure on the online network. “Parents must meet ‘conditions’ to accompany their children? It’s absurd, it should be their most basic right”, writes a user on the Weibo platform. Unverifiable videos of babies and young children in public institutions were also shared.

Shanghai authorities are sticking with the approach despite criticism. It is an essential part of “prevention and control measures” against the virus, official Wu said. “We have made it clear that children whose parents are also positive can live in the same place as children,” said she added.

Given the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the corona virus, the Chinese government is under increasing pressure with its “zero Covid” strategy. Anger over the strict lockdown measures has been palpable in Shanghai and other cities for days. For the second day in a row, more than 13,000 new corona infections were recorded nationwide on Monday, including 9,000 in Shanghai, which was particularly hard hit.

In order to contain the epidemic, the Shanghai authorities imposed a two-phase confinement a week ago: the eastern and western parts of the city were to be sealed off one after the other for four days each. In the meantime, however, many locals feel the lockdown has been quietly extended. They are still not allowed to exercise outside or walk their dogs. The supply of fresh produce is also difficult.

Publication: 04/04/2022 – Source: Agence-France-Presse

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