Shanghai tells hospitals not to delay treatment over COVID-19 measures
A hospital pharmacy in Shanghai. /CFP

A hospital pharmacy in Shanghai. /CFP

Shanghai on Friday ordered hospitals not to delay treatment for patients over COVID-19 restrictions after an elderly woman died, reportedly while waiting for a COVID-19 test result before she could receive emergency care.

Larry Hsien Ping Lang, a prominent economist, said on his Weibo account that his 98-year-old mother, who had kidney failure, was asked to wait for the test result before admission to the emergency room at a hospital in the eastern Chinese city.

"She waited for four hours, and the result had not yet come back," Lang said. "She then left us."

The account of his mother's death went viral, with many netizens lamenting the alleged circumstances and questioning hospital rules.

"Based on past treatment experience, a single shot could have saved her," Lang said.

In principle, public hospitals are required to keep medical services operational during the fight against COVID-19, a Shanghai official said at Friday's press conference, adding that this is especially the case for emergency and fever outpatient services.

When patients seek treatment, medical facilities are not allowed to use "awaiting COVID-19 results" as a reason for postponing or rejecting the treatment, the official said.

Shanghai is fighting a tough battle against the worst virus outbreak in China in two years. The city reported 3,200 symptomatic cases and 19,872 asymptomatic cases on Thursday.

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