Jia Ruiling’s* father has been enduring severe pain since 17 March. He has late-stage stomach cancer, but his hospital refused to treat him because Jia’s neighbourhood in Shanghai was under lockdown as a result of a handful of Covid cases.
“We begged the hospital to accept him again and again,” Jia said. “At some point my father was in so much pain that he wanted to take his life. What can we do? Please, help us let the central government know.”
China’s strict zero-Covid policy means all positive cases have to be hospitalised. But in the last few weeks, as case numbers have risen sharply and 26 million people entered a harsh lockdown, mainland China’s most important financial hub has come to a standstill. The number of new daily positive cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time on Monday. Although 38,000 health workers have been shipped in from around China to help, medical resources are overwhelmingly diverted to combat Covid, leaving it difficult for non-Covid patients like Jia’s father to access them.