Authorities in the Chinese city of Xi’an relented in some of their pandemic restrictions after a nationwide outcry over the account of a woman who lost her unborn baby in the eighth month of pregnancy after being denied medical attention for hours.
For two weeks, the city’s 13 million residents have been confined to their homes in response to an outbreak in which about 1,800 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19, a big outbreak for China. Most of Xi’an’s cases have been mild, authorities say, and no one has died of the virus. Still, the city has closed most public services in measures similar to those in Wuhan, the first epicenter of the coronavirus, two years ago. Only a limited number of Xi’an’s hospitals have been open to non-Covid-19 patients.
The restrictions had prompted widespread online complaints, but mostly from locals about challenges in getting access to food or medical care. On Wednesday, anger spread nationwide, with social-media expressions of outrage in response to a video showing a woman sitting outside a hospital, with a pool of blood at her feet. In the one-minute video, people identifying themselves as family members describe how the woman was kept waiting outside the hospital for two hours, allegedly because her most recent Covid-19 test was a couple of hours too old. By the time she was admitted, her unborn baby had died.
The incident seems to have marked a turning point in the public response to some of the most stringent…