Xi’an, a northern Chinese city with about 13 million people, has been under strict lockdown for more than two weeks to try to bring down COVID case numbers.
At Gaoxin Hospital on New Year’s Day, a pregnant woman arrived suffering from abdominal pain. The hospital told her to wait outside, where she sat on a plastic stool for two hours.
During the wait, the woman began bleeding uncontrollably, which was filmed by her husband. The video shows a pool of blood at her feet.
The woman is recovering and Gaoxin Hospital General Manager Fan Yuhui has been suspended. The head of the outpatient department and the head of the medical department have been fired, as well.
The ruling Communist Party also gave formal warnings to a ranking official with the Xi’an Emergency Center, as well as to a ranking official with the Xi’an Municipal Health Commission. There is a growing list of officials that have been disciplined for how they are handling the COVID outbreaks.
A government statement was read at a news conference by the head of the city’s health department, Liu Shunzhi. He bowed in apology to the woman and said the incident “caused widespread concern in society and caused a severe social impact.”
Shunzhi also apologized for “providing poor access to medical treatment and inadequate service for those with special requirements.”
State media also quoted Shunzhi saying the system will “open green channels for those with special needs and make every effort to ensure all received attention amid the pandemic.”
During the past month, more than 1,800 cases have been reported in Xi’an. Lockdown protocols have been put in place to confine the public to their homes.
The city government on Thursday said two other ranking officials with the Xi’an Emergency Center and Xi’an Municipal Health Commission had been given formal warnings by the ruling Communist Party.
Xi’an recorded another 63 cases of COVID-19, reported to be the Delta variant, on Thursday, bringing its total over its month-long outbreak to more than 1,800, with no reported deaths.
Officials have said the city, home to the famed Terracotta Warriors statues along with major industries, has basically halted community transmission because all of the new cases were among people already quarantined.
While those numbers are relatively small compared to outbreaks in the U.S. and elsewhere, they come less than a month before Beijing is due to host the Winter Olympic Games.
That has put officials under intense pressure to contain infections, prompting a stepping up of already severe measures under China’s “zero tolerance” strategy of quarantining every case, conducting mass testing and placing entire cities under lockdown.
Xi’an’s main airport suspended all international flights on Wednesday. Domestic flights had already been put on hold as part of measures to seal off the city. Tens of thousands of close contacts of infected people have been placed in quarantine centers.
Authorities are also implementing increasingly stringent measures following an outbreak in Henan province, just west of Shaanxi province, of which Xi’an is the capital.
An additional 69 cases were reported there on Thursday, and officials have been enforcing a ban on intercity travel except for special purposes.
One city in the province, Yuzhou, was also placed under lockdown after the discovery of three asymptomatic cases. Since then, case numbers have been ticking up, with 55 reported by Thursday afternoon.
Only emergency vehicles are allowed on the roads, classes have been suspended and businesses catering to the public have closed for all but essential needs in the city of 1.17 million.
Several other cities in the province have ordered mass testing and shut public venues, despite only small numbers of cases being detected.
In neighboring Shanxi province, the city of Yongji and its population of almost 500,000 was placed under lockdown after traces of coronavirus were detected at an exit point at the local train station.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.