Authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai have eased a controversial aspect of its COVID-19 isolation policy as the financial hub continues to struggle with a raging outbreak of the disease.
A city health official announced Wednesday that parents with special needs children who have tested positive can enter city-run isolation centers as long as they sign an agreement that they understand the risks and will comply with certain rules.
Revelations that COVID-19 positive children had been separated from their parents and were staying alone in isolation centers sparked a nationwide uproar last week, prompting officials in China’s most populous city to allow parents who were also infected to accompany their children in the centers.
Shanghai has become the epicenter of a dramatic surge of new COVID-19 infections in China largely driven by the highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus. Some 17,077 new cases were reported in Shanghai Tuesday, including 311 who were asymptomatic, which account for more than 80 percent of the nationwide tally of more than 20,000 new cases.
City authorities have imposed a lockdown in response to the surge, ordering all 26 million residents to remain in their homes. The lockdown has led to growing complaints online of a lack of fresh food, especially vegetables, with grocery stores closed and residents unable to obtain food deliveries through online apps.
The breakthrough of new COVID-19 cases in China is happening despite Beijing’s official “zero COVID” strategy that aims to completely eliminate coronavirus outbreaks across the mainland.
Shanghai was conducting a new round of mass coronavirus testing Wednesday.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.