China investigates claim Covid rules led to miscarriage as Beijing sees record cases

Authorities in China’s Chongqing are investigating reports that a woman suffered a miscarriage as a result of strict Covid-19 protocols delaying her in receiving treatment.

The pregnant woman was reportedly in need of medical attention but was prohibited from leaving her compound which was locked-down due to Covid restrictions in Jiulongpo district on Saturday, reported the South China Morning Post.

Covid-19 continues to batter China as the country reported more than 16,000 new infections – confirmed to be locally transmitted – on Monday, the highest daily tally since late April.

Beijing saw its highest ever daily Covid infections – more than 400 cases – recorded on Monday. Guangdong and Henan remain hotspots for new infections and have thousands of active cases.

Officials in the district administration where the woman’s miscarriage was reported said they will “investigate and punish those involved according to the law”, according to an official notice shared on WeChat on Sunday, the SCMP report added.

This is only the latest reported incident of China’s strict zero-Covid policy impacting on daily lives and preventing citizens from accessing essential medical care.

Among the previous instances are two miscarriages reported in December and January from Xian city. Another man also died in May this year while waiting for an ambulance service.

China continues to face rising numbers of Covid-19 infections nationwide in spite of having some of the harshest remaining pandemic restrictions in the world, and while the Communist Party leadership insists it is still taking a zero-tolerance approach to Covid, steps are now being taken to reduce the impact of some of these policies.

Authorities scaled down routine community coronavirus testing on Monday, and last week a host of changes were announced reducing quarantine times for those entering and moving around the country.

Nonetheless, officials in some areas of Beijing have rolled out daily tests amid the record case numbers there.

Locals expressed concern and confusion at the scaling down of protocols in Beijing’s Shijiazhuang city, which became one of the top five trending topics on China’s social media platform Weibo. At least 544 infections were reported from the city 295 kms (183 miles) southwest of Beijing on Sunday.

The city’s "optimisation" of Covid prevention measures should not be seen as authorities "lying flat" - an expression for inaction - nor is Shijiazhuang moving towards "full liberation" from Covid curbs, said the city’s Communist Party chief, Zhang Chaochao.

"I’m a little scared. In the future, public places will not look at nucleic acid tests, and nucleic acid test points will also be closed, everyone needs to pay for the tests," one Weibo user wrote, speaking about Shijiazhuang.