China’s leading official in the anti-Covid response, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, has stated that officials will send anyone infected with Covid-19 and their close contacts to quarantine centers. That means even the elderly with underlying health issues will spend 14 days in isolation sites on their own.
CNN reported on April 21 that a 94-year-old woman was forcibly taken to the Shanghai quarantine site. Her granddaughter Zhi Ye shared on WeChat that police arrived in the middle of the night of April 18. After banging at the door, the men pried the lock and burst in. Despite having tested negative for Covid, the men demanded her grandma and her 74-year-old uncle be quarantined.
Zhi Ye recalled when her grandma refused to go, the police pulled her out of bed and dragged her onto the floor. In the end, the two elderly arrived at the quarantine camp at 4 a.m on April 19. Zhi Ye wrote that her grandma suffered from high blood pressure and heart disease while her uncle was recovering from a recent surgery.
Zhi’s grandma was among many other elderly forced to enter isolation sites lately. Her story has gone viral, sparking a public outcry. A top comment from one user called such action was “cold-blooded cruelty and violence.”
Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN that the older people in their 80s and 90s stood the risk of cross-infection and dying in these isolation centers. The risk is much higher compared to staying at home or in self-isolation.
As many of these older adults required intensive care due to their chronic conditions, he was concerned that they might not receive the needed medical attention in isolation centers.
However, Chinese officials claim that the “zero-Covid” policy saves lives, especially that of vulnerable groups.
In this regard, the health expert asked, “The question is at what cost? And does the end justify the means?”
As the city continues under strict clampdown, That’s not to mention that the discontent among Shanghai people, who are already suffering food shortages and a lack of medical supply, keeps growing.