Reuters reported on April 4 that diplomats from over 30 Western countries have jointly urged Shanghai authorities not to separate COVID-positive children from their caregivers.
In an effort to curb the virus from spreading, Shanghai authorities have decided to keep infected children away from their parents, citing epidemic prevention requirements.
The French consulate in Shanghai sent a letter to the foreign affairs office of Shanghai on March 31, saying, “We request that under no circumstances should parents and children be separated.”
The French consulate also requested that asymptomatic or mild cases should be sent to “a specialized isolation environment with staff who can communicate in English.”
The British embassy in Beijing also wrote a letter to the Chinese foreign ministry on the same day, expressing their concern over “recent instances when local authorities have sought to separate minors who tested positive for COVID-19 from their parents.” The embassy asked the Chinese counterpart to assure that the same thing would not happen to their staff.
The British embassy also raised concern over the conditions and lack of privacy in China’s mobile hospitals. It suggested in the letter that isolation in diplomatic housing would be a “preferable solution” and consistent with their Vienna Convention privileges.
The news outlet quoted a spokesperson from the consulate, saying, “The British Consulate-General in Shanghai has been raising its concerns about various aspects of the current COVID policies in relation to all British Nationals in China, with the relevant Chinese authorities.”
According to Reuters, the French consulate and British embassy said they represented countries in the European Union and other nations like Norway, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand.
The concern appeared after Shanghai authorities implemented the plan to lock down the city in two stages from March 28, causing many difficulties.
Shanghai authorities have launched mass testing on its over 26 million residents. The city government also sent thousands of health workers and the military force to assist in the testing operation.