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Workers in protective suits stand guard at the entrance of a residential compound in Xian. Photo: AFP

Xian updates Covid-19 rules as two unborn babies lost to hospital delays

  • Video posted on social media showed bloodied eight-months pregnant woman waiting outside a hospital for two hours as her Covid-19 test was invalid
  • A second woman miscarried and had to undergo an abortion after multiple hospitals refused entry over technicalities
Two would-be-mothers in Xian lost their babies as coronavirus-related restrictions delayed treatment, Chinese social media posts revealed, as residents in the northwestern city continued to share their anguish online over two weeks of Covid-19 lockdown.

A video circulating online showed an eight-months pregnant woman sitting outside a hospital with blood running down her legs, after she was refused immediate entry into a hospital for not having a valid Covid-19 test result.

She was kept waiting for two hours on Saturday night as her test had expired four hours before, her niece said in a post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

“[Medical workers] sent her to an operating room seeing her [bleeding seriously]. The baby died in the womb after eight months of pregnancy because of delayed treatment,” the niece’s post said.


Senior officials in Xian dismissed from posts as city turns corner on Covid-19 outbreak

Senior officials in Xian dismissed from posts as city turns corner on Covid-19 outbreak

On Wednesday, Xian authorities said hospitals should provide treatment, and open “green lanes” and hotline services for pregnant women and patients with critical illnesses.

Those with Covid-19 test results from the past 48 hours could choose their means of transport to hospital, which should not reject patients on the grounds of Covid-19 control, while residents in closed-off areas would be sent to designated hospitals with point-to-point transport service, the new directives said.

“My aunt sent me voice messages in her weak voice to ask me to keep updating the post. She is grieving and demands an explanation from the hospital,” the niece wrote in a follow-up post on Tuesday.

The post, which had gained millions of views, could not be accessed on Wednesday morning and there was no response to messages to the account.

Calls to the Xian Gaoxin Hospital, where the woman was admitted, went unanswered on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. An unidentified hospital chief told the news outlet that the patient was recovering from the operation and provincial and city-level health officials were investigating.

Xian Gaoxin Hospital. Photo: Weibo

The Shaanxi Women’s Federation told Phoenix New Media’s news portal that their welfare department would look into the incident.

Another would-be mother said she was refused by several hospitals on December 29 when she started bleeding that morning.

In a Weibo post on Wednesday, she said the first hospital refused her because she belonged to a “closed-loop management area”, where people are banned from leaving their area of residence. The second one said it would only admit those with higher-risk yellow or red health codes.

Her husband and police officers who transported the couple phoned other hospitals, the epidemic command centre, and a government hotline for help, but their calls were not answered.

Xian account of life in lockdown highlights ‘costs’ of zero-Covid policy

The woman, surnamed Wang, was finally admitted by a hospital in the late afternoon after a Covid-19 test. By then she had already lost the baby and had to go through a curettage procedure the next day. She did not elaborate on how far along she was.

“I could only feel I was bleeding non-stop as I trembled and shed tears in a helpless meltdown,” she said. “The doctor asked why I came so late, but I couldn’t say a word.”

“I hate Covid-19, and I understand how difficult it is to fight it. But I did not know why the epidemic command centre could not be reached on the phone, and other calls were passing the buck,” she wrote.