China Isolates Children to Control New COVID-19 Outbreak

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A city in southeast China is responding to its latest COVID-19 outbreak by quarantining the infected individuals and their close contacts, including children under 12 years old. Medical staff and parents alike have shared stories of grief and videos of their unaccompanied children in hospitals.

A four-year-old boy in a full white hazmat suit with a backpack—almost half-size of his body—was captured on video trudging alone in the hospital corridor awaiting a CT scan following his positive test for COVID-19. Millions of users circulated the video, captured by a nurse at the fever clinic of the Affiliated Hospital of Putian University who uploaded it on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.

“When I saw a kid standing alone without parents accompanying [him] in the strange and scary hospital, I felt my heart was really aching,” Liang Limin, the nurse told a local newspaper on Sept. 14.

Health authorities in Putian city, Fujian province, said on Sept. 19 that there have been 187 cases of COVID-19 detected over the past seven days. The figure is likely not to reflect the total, given the Chinese regime is known to grossly underreport its virus numbers, but it indicates a surge in the number of cases, including among school-aged children.

As of Sept. 17, over 40 percent of cases in the city have been among children under 14 years old. Authorities have implemented China’s standard containment strategy—mass testing and mandatory quarantine—on parents, teachers, as well as those young students.

Some children are too small, not even able to climb on the scanning table, the nurse told Fujian Health Newspaper, adding that doctors and nurses helped them to complete the examination.

“[W]e waited a long time for the children this time, because a kid had cried for two hours before being coaxed by doctors and parents to leave home,” she told the local media.

She said tears immediately filled her eyes when seeing those “little white guys” step down alone from the ambulance to enter isolation.

Putian authorities said that the country’s regulations required hospitals to isolate all patients diagnosed with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, at a press conference on Sept. 16. They claimed that hospitals had prepared many books and delicious food for children.

Nevertheless, many people have said on China’s social media platforms that seeing children separated from their parents has brought them to tears.

According to China’s Central Television, the youngest patient in the Affiliated Hospital of Putian University’s isolation wards is only three years old.

The authorities later said a parent could stay with their children under 14 years old. However, the rule is only applies to those who received negative test results.

Since two pupils tested positive on Sept. 10, infections have spread to students from more than ten schools in Putian, including kindergarten and primary schools. In the biggest quarantine hotel, there are over 130 children under 12-years-old. The youngest is an 18-week-old newborn, according to state media Xinhua.

Epoch Times Photo
A child undergoes a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Putian city, in China’s eastern Fujian province on September 13, 2021. (-/CNS/AFP via Getty Images)

Infected During Quarantine

The Putian Municipal Health Commission reported over 4,300 people in quarantine hotels or isolated at homes on Sept. 19. However, national health authorities are attributing the recent outbreak to the quarantine strategy.

Wang Qinghua, a chief immunologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, mentioned at a press conference on Sept. 17 that the likely source of the outbreak, a student’s father, could have been infected with Delta variant during mandatory quarantine.

Earlier, state media reported that the father had recently traveled overseas.

The man, surname Lin, first experienced a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine after returning from Singapore on Aug. 4. He underwent another seven-day quarantine in a designated location and a further week’s medical observation at home after entering Xianyou county. In addition, he had tested negative for the virus nine times before receiving a positive result 37 days later.

Authorities in Putian have scrambled to enforce stay-at-home orders and conduct mass testing for 2.9 millions residents.

Wang warned that infection cases will continue to rise from a spike in cases linked to factories and schools, both of which are densely-populated locations. The outbreak spanned four cities in Fujian Province on Sunday.

Dorothy Li

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