Residents of Xi’an, China, have been under lockdown since Dec. 23, causing health issues and food shortages for the 13 million citizens confined to their homes.
Xi’an is at the epicenter of China’s current COVID outbreak, and local authorities have enacted drastic measures that have attracted significant criticism online. Xi’an’s “zero COVID” strategy has forced the city of 13 million people into strict home confinement for two weeks, according to NDTV. A Xi’an woman, who was eight months pregnant at the time, lost her baby after a hospital refused her entry because her COVID-19 test was four hours past its expiration, according to South China Morning Post.
A viral Jan. 1 Weibo post from the woman’s niece confirmed that her aunt had a miscarriage outside the hospital. The post included photos and video of the woman waiting outside the hospital and sitting on a plastic stool surrounded by a pool of blood.
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On Thursday, Chinese authorities reported they had suspended the hospital manager and fired two other officials after footage went viral of the eight-month pregnant woman miscarrying in front of a hospital when she was refused entry.
This is not the only health incident that has happened as a result of Xi’an’s strict COVID policy. Another woman said her 61-year-old father died Monday after several hospitals declined to treat his heart attack “due to pandemic-related rules”. The woman said she drove over eight hours searching for a hospital that would admit her father, according to her social media post that has been viewed more than 500 million times. After he was finally admitted, “The doctor said that the delay was too long,” she wrote.
Shortage of food and supplies
Although city authorities promised to supply free food to Xi’an residents, there have been numerous complaints on social media from residents who said their supplies were running low or that they had yet to receive aid, according to BBC News.
Viral footage on Weibo captures people trading cigarettes for cabbage, dishwashing liquid for apples and sanitary pads for a small pile of vegetables. One resident traded a Nintendo Switch console for a packet of instant noodles and two steamed buns.
“People are swapping stuff with others in the same building, because they no longer have enough food to eat,” a resident surnamed Wang told Radio Free Asia.
“Helpless citizens have arrived at the era of bartering – potatoes are exchanged for cotton swabs,” one Weibo user said.