Coronavirus: Toddler in mainland China has been tested for Covid 74 times since birth

  • Lockdowns have closed the town of Ruili, near the border with Myanmar, for about seven months in total since September 2020
  • A negative test is required to enter public facilities; one resident says his 22-month-old son has had 74 coronavirus tests since he was born
Sue Ng |

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Epidemic prevention and control staff wearing protective suits guard the entrance to a residential neighbourhood under lockdown due to coronavirus cases at the Hongfuyuan residential community in the Changping district of Beijing, China. Photo: EPA-EFE

A toddler in a town in mainland China has endured four lockdowns since September 2020 and has been tested for coronavirus 74 times since he was born, Chinese media reported.

The town of Ruili sits in the west of Yunnan province and shares a border with Covid-hit Myanmar. It has been subject to four strict lockdowns since September of last year, lasting about seven months in total.

More than 5 million people have died of Covid

Since July, 716 people returning to Ruili from other places have tested positive for Covid-19, the Ruili government said.

To contain the outbreak, all shops, except supermarkets, hospitals and pharmacies, have been ordered to close, according to mainland news source Schools and other educational institutions were also ordered to shut their doors.

The Hongfuyuan residential community in Beijing’s Changping was listed as high-risk of Covid-19 on 23 October, and has been put under closed-off management. Lockdowns are a regular occurrence in the country, and are China’s way of containing potential outbreaks. Photo: EPA-EFE

Covid-19 tests have become a part of people’s daily lives, as a negative test result from within the last seven days is needed for entering public facilities.

“My [22-month-old] son has undergone a Covid test 74 times,” one jade businessman told the media on October 29. “[We] seldom go out, and my son basically just stays home. We’re afraid [of the coronavirus]. You never know where you might be infected.”

Since school has been suspended, the man said he has been trying to homeschool his son.

Another resident said he is being tested about two times every three days.

“We are all used to it, and we are definitely having a hard time [under the lockdown],” he said.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” says WHO Covid chief

On October 29, Ruili deputy mayor Yang Mou acknowledged the “difficult times experienced by the masses” at a press conference on the pandemic.

“Since Ruili continues to have daily cases, there is still a risk of the virus spreading,” he said.

“Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a strict policy preventing people from leaving Ruili to ensure the virus does not spread, and so we do not affect the anti-pandemic efforts of the province and country.”

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