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One family's tragedy as Chinese authorities fail to contain coronavirus

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14th February, 2020 20:18 IST

One family's tragedy as Chinese authorities fail to contain coronavirus
14 Feb 2020

Two weeks ago, brothers Wang Xiangkai and Wang Xiangyou arrived at a hotel converted into a temporary coronavirus quarantine facility in Wuhan.

There was no medical staff or equipment at the facility.

Xiangyou died the very next day, aged 62.

61-year-old Xiangkai, who has since been admitted to a hospital, now cannot even walk properly.

Here's the story of a family in Wuhan.


Wuhan coronavirus first detected in mid-December

The outbreak started in mid-December when authorities noticed a "SARS-like" virus sickening people in Wuhan, a city in China's Hubei province.

A new strain of coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2 (previously named 2019-nCoV), was detected causing flu-like symptoms, severe pneumonia, multiple organ failure or death.

The disease caused by the virus (COVID-19) has since infected over 65,000 people across two dozen countries and killed 1,384.

CT scans established Wang brothers were infected

Two days before Xiangyou died, doctors had noted that they were likely infected with the novel coronavirus, according to Reuters.

Reportedly, their CT scans showed that their lungs had turned "white," resembling cracked glass—a symptom of severe viral infections.

However, since the hospital did not have any RNA kits to confirm a diagnosis, they could not be admitted.

Brothers sent to quarantine facility at hotel where Xiangyou died

As directed, the brothers approached the community government.

On January 30, the government offered them the quarantine facility at the Echarm hotel, where Xiangyou died.

The family was denied a mourning ceremony and the cremation was rushed. The family was asked to collect the ashes after 15 days.

Xiangkai's daughter, Wang Wenjun, told Reuters, "What did we do to deserve such punishment?"


Despite efforts, Chinese authorities overwhelmed by coronavirus cases

Reportedly, there are several cases similar to the Wang family in China, where despite reinforcements, the authorities are overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients rolling into the hospitals. Health authorities in Hubei now also recognize cases diagnosed through CT scans, like Xiangyou.

Xiangkai's health has worsened since

After the loss of his brother, Xiangkai moved to a relative's home from the quarantine facility.

This Monday, the family was informed about the availability of a hospital bed.

With public transport shut, Xiangkai's wife, 58, pushed his wheelchair 10 minutes to the hospital.

A new CT scan showed his lungs had worsened. He now also needs assistance even walking to the toilet.

Amid transport lockdown, Xiangkai's daughter cannot visit
Continuing struggle

Meanwhile, with the transport lockdown, his daughter Wenjun is unable to visit since she lives across the city.

She said, "On January 22, our entire family had a Lunar New Year dinner, and we even took a photo together. It has been bad news every day since then."

Xiangkai's wife has also fallen sick. The doctors suspect she too has contracted the novel coronavirus.

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