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China denies treatment for non-Covid illnesses: HRW

New York [US], April 7 (ANI): The Chinese government should respect the right to health and other basic rights in its response to the COVID-19 surge in the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.

Authorities in Shanghai have imposed draconian lockdown measures since March that have impeded people’s access to health care, food, and other life necessities, the New York-based watchdog noted. An unknown number of people have died after being denied medical treatment for their non-Covid related illnesses.

The authorities have separated small children from their parents after positive Covid-19 tests under the “Zero Covid” policy, which requires those testing positive to isolate in a hospital or designated facility. According to HRW, the authorities have hindered discussion of public concerns surrounding the Covid response by further tightening restrictions on social media.

“The Chinese government’s ‘Zero-Covid’ approach to pandemic control by imposing stringent citywide lockdowns has resulted in the systematic denial of medical needs of people with serious but non-Covid related illnesses,” said Yaqiu Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Authorities should treat the health of citizens as the end goal, not a zero-Covid infection rate.”

On April 3, the Chinese government announced the deployment of thousands of military personnel to Shanghai to assist in the mandatory testing of all 25 million residents for the virus that causes Covid-19. On April 4, Shanghai authorities said the city would indefinitely remain under lockdown – meaning that residents are not allowed to leave their homes – as it reviews results of the mass Covid testing.

Numerous netizens took to Chinese social media to share stories of their or their loved ones being denied access to medical care for non-Covid related illnesses either due to hospitals being closed because of Covid-restrictions, or the lack of health care workers because they were quarantined or got diverted to administer Covid tests.

The rights watchdog said that Chinese officials denied some patients care because they had a Covid infection or they did not have proof of a negative Covid test.

Netizens have reported threats of self-harm or violence when family members were denied access to health care. The authorities have forcibly separated some children who tested positive from their parents to be quarantined in medical facilities.

So far, Shanghai authorities defended the policy, stating that anyone found positive – regardless of age – must be isolated from non-infected people, and that a parent can only be quarantined with their child if both are infected.

China’s much-publicised ‘zero-covid’ strategy that the government credited for bringing the country out of the pandemic till recently is falling apart as the rapidly mounting cases are again forcing mass lockdowns like those seen in 2020. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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