China’s Bid to Punish Hospitals Over Covid Prompts New Confusion
(Bloomberg) -- Residents of a Chinese city locked down for three weeks are voicing concern about health risks after two hospitals were closed because their strict enforcement of virus rules led to patient deaths.
Guo said Friday he’d been given permission to finish the procedures. He hasn’t responded to attempts by Bloomberg News to contact him via China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.
A woman who said she was due to give birth soon at the same facility said she was worried about finding a new hospital so late in her pregnancy. “Where should I go?” she posted Thursday on Weibo.
Earlier this month, a woman’s miscarriage outside Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital, which denied her entry over an expired Covid test, caused uproar in the Asian nation. The father of one Xi’an resident also died after being denied care at the center where Guo practices. Authorities in Xi’an, a central city of 13 million people, ordered both facilities to close on Thursday for three months to undergo a “rectification” process.
They later issued guidelines urging the two hospitals to make arrangements for patients to receive treatment elsewhere. Critically ill patients were allowed to remain in the facilities.
The episode underscores a key challenge facing the government of President Xi Jinping, whose officials are struggling to strike a balance between enforcing policies including Covid Zero to the satisfaction of their bosses and making sure the public’s needs are met. Last month, Xi’an punished 26 people for failing in their virus-control responsibilities.
China is determined that oa firm grip on the nation of 1.4 billion people as the Winter Olympics approach. The event running Feb. 4-20 will be held in a bubble that covers part of Beijing and neighboring Hebei province. Xi has promised his nation will hold a “simple, safe and splendid” games.
After the woman’s miscarriage, Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan tried to clear up any confusion for health officials across the country, telling them they “must not turn away patients under any excuse.”
Despite China’s strict pursuit of zero Covid cases, the world’s No. 2 economy continues to deal with flareups including in the port cities of Dalian and Tianjin -- where the omicron variant has appeared -- and in the central province of Henan.
The financial hub of Shanghai has detected five infections, and dozens have been found in Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.
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With assistance from Bloomberg