Xi'an healthcare providers urged to be more flexible

By ZHENG CAIXIONG and ZHOU HUIYING (China Daily) 11:05, January 08, 2022

Residents queue up for nucleic acid tests at a community in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Friday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan urged relevant departments and medical institutions in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, which is in lockdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak, to adhere to people-first and life-first principles and never refuse the people's need to seek medical treatment when necessary.

Residents' access to medical services must not be denied under any pretext, despite the ongoing urgency of containing the further spread of the coronavirus, said Sun, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Sun made her remarks at a work conference on Thursday after local residents complained to relevant departments of their difficulties in obtaining medical treatment in Xi'an in recent days.

"Serious and critically ill patients must be admitted whether or not they have proof of nucleic acid tests," she said.

Designated hospitals should be built to provide continuous medical services to pregnant women, newborns and those undergoing dialysis, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, Sun added.

Local social media posts previously reported a woman who was eight months pregnant miscarried after she was refused admittance to Xi'an Gaoxin Hospital on Jan 1 because her nucleic acid test result was four hours past efficacy. A man from a medium-risk area who suffered from angina died after he had been refused entry by several hospitals on Sunday night.

Sun said it is sad such cases have occurred and lessons should be learned.

Authorities in Xi'an issued an announcement on Friday stipulating that all communities, emergency centers and medical institutions cannot use the 48-hour negative certificate of nucleic acid testing as a reason to bar admittance to healthcare facilities.

No medical institutions are allowed to refuse patients for any reason, it said.

According to Zhang Bo, deputy director of the Xi'an health commission, residents living in areas that have been sealed off or closed no longer need 48-hour nucleic acid testing proof when they have made appointments online to leave home to seek medical services. Meanwhile, those living outside sealed and closed areas can go to hospital themselves without any negative nucleic acid test results, or they can consult doctors online at home.

"In case of emergency, neighborhood committees and quarantine hotels can immediately arrange vehicles to transport to hospitals serious and/or critically ill patients, including those suffering from strokes, chest pain, severe trauma, shock, high fever or about to give birth," Zhang said at a news conference on Friday.

Xi'an reported a total of 57 locally transmitted confirmed cases on Thursday, bringing the city's total number of patients to 1,913 as of late Thursday, Zhang said.

"All of the newly detected patients, including 45 men and 12 women, have developed mild symptoms," Zhang said.

In Henan province, a total of 56 new locally transmitted confirmed cases were reported on Thursday, the provincial health commission said on Friday.

Of the cases, 26 were reported in the provincial capital Zhengzhou, with 28 in Xuchang and one each in Xinyang and Luoyang.

Zhang Boli, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said similar to Shaanxi province, the outbreak in Henan involved the Delta variant.

"Stringent control measures adopted in Xi'an have proved effective, so Henan can learn from its experience," the academician said.

In Shenzhen, Guangdong province, the municipal government has required its officials to take the lead and not leave the city and the province after a couple, both 29, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

Meanwhile, the southern metropolis has strictly controlled and limited large-scale conferences, activities, forums, training, performances, exhibitions and sales promotions in the city. The districts of Longgang and Luohu have decided to suspend all large-scale gathering activities starting Friday.

Kang Ruoming contributed to this story.

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Bianji)


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