China's strict Covid policies result in death of 4-month-old baby in quarantine hotel igniting public outrage

The father, Li Baoliang, alleged that medical personnel 'indirectly killed' his child by stopping him from taking her to a hospital from the quarantine zone

China's strict Covid policies result in death of 4-month-old baby in quarantine hotel igniting public outrage
Tensions grow over Beijing's strict 'dynamic zero Covid' policy after a father posts about the death of his 4-month-old child (Getty Images)
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ZHENGZHOU, CHINA: As tensions grow over Beijing's strict "dynamic zero Covid" policy, a four-month-old baby died in a quarantine hotel in China, igniting public backlash on social media. In a quarantine hotel in the capital city of Zhengzhou, the four-month-old infant girl died after experiencing vomiting and diarrhea, according to a post by her father on the Chinese social media site Weibo, on Wednesday, November 16.

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When her father, Li Baoliang, called emergency services early on Monday, November 14, medics said her case wasn't urgent as she had earlier tested negative for Covid. An ambulance finally arrived, but it took two hours to take the baby to the hospital 60 miles away. She was pronounced dead 12 hours later after her father raised the alarm on Tuesday, November 15, early in the morning. 

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“This is a tremendous shock to us. I could not accept this,” Li wrote, urging the authorities to investigate the incident. “I want justice for my child!” After a three-year-old kid died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the city of Lanzhou, this is the second unfortunate death in recent weeks. His father alleged that medical personnel "indirectly killed" his kid by stopping him from taking the child to a hospital on his own. Beijing has pledged that those in quarantine areas won't be denied access to emergency medical care.

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Three years into the outbreak, China is still enforcing a zero-Covid policy that places those who have the virus or at danger of getting it, in a quarantine lockdown. The plan was hailed as a success by President Xi Jinping just last month, as he began his third term in office. Censors quickly removed mention of deaths away from the public eye in quarantine areas and the attempt to minimize their effect. 

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In the beginning, the Chinese population largely supported the zero-Covid policy, but they are now demanding that it be repealed. There have been over 180 million views for the Chinese hashtag "girl refused medical treatment died" at the time of publication, but it was still not listed in the trending section of the Chinese social media platform. A riot broke out in Guangzhou, a city in southern China on Monday, November 14.    

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Marauding protesters were seen damaging Covid testing facilities, flipping police cars, and attacking healthcare personnel who were dressed in biohazard suits. Huge groups of people broke over Covid barriers and marched through the streets of Guangzhou in a rare display of popular outrage over localized lockdowns. Videos uploaded extensively on Twitter captured the tumultuous scenes in Guangzhou's Haizhu neighborhood late on Monday night as crowds raced through the streets and engaged in combat with medical personnel wearing white hazmat suits.

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A large group of protestors are seen in video footage destroying Covid testing facilities. At a temporary testing site, one individual is seen pulling down the gazebos and attempting to kick the Covid health professionals who were waiting in line. Another video appears to show medical personnel, dressed in hazmat suits, tasering some protesters who approach them. One protester can be seen being forced to the ground by a health worker who is putting pressure on the man's neck with his foot.
Chinese authorities have responded by installing an additional 250,000 quarantine beds to the facilities in the city of 15 million.

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