WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A 17-year-old boy with disabilities died after being left alone at home when his father got infected with the coronavirus and was quarantined in another village.
- Suffering from cerebral palsy, the boy was left alone for nearly a week with no one to feed him.
- The father, who claimed that government officials have only fed his son twice in 5 days, asked a charity for disabled persons to care for his son in his absence.
A disabled teenager died after allegedly being left home alone for almost a week after his father was taken for quarantine after contracting the coronavirus.
Citing Beijing Youth Daily’s conversation with officials, the South China Morning Post reported that 17-year-old Yan Cheng died of unknown causes on January 29 in central China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV.
Cheng suffered from cerebral palsy, a neurological condition caused by brain damage that affects balance, movement and muscle tone. His father Yan Xiaowen, 49, and his 11-year old brother left Wuhan on January 17 to celebrate the Lunar New Year at a village in Huahe town in Hong’an County.
Three days later, Yan came down with a fever and was quarantined by officials at a health center on Friday, January 24th. He has been infected with the contagious coronavirus on January 27, according to the South China Morning Post.
Worried that local Community Party officials may not provide his son with the right care during his absence, Yan notified Hubei’s Disabled Person’s Federation and pleaded for someone to look after him. He claimed that his son was fed by party officials only twice between January 24 and the 28th.
On Tuesday, the newspaper revealed that Yan wrote on Weibo saying his son cannot move and speak for himself. “He has already been at home by himself for six days, with nobody to bathe him or change his clothes and nothing to eat or drink.”
A report from the Damihexiaomi, a group which protects people with disabilities, said that Community Party officials were supposed to send the father and Cheng to an isolation hotel on January 29 so they could be cared for at the same time. Unfortunately, Cheng died on Wednesday afternoon.
A Huahe Township spokesperson told the Beijing Youth Daily that an investigation has already been launched by Hongan County officials. He added saying, “There is no way we could have left a boy with cerebral palsy at home with nobody looking after him.”
Newsweek has requested China’s National Health Commission for comment.
So far, the deadly new coronavirus has killed 170 people in 7,783 cases since its spread from a seafood market in the Hubei province city of Wuhan late last year. It was believed that the nCoV was initially transmitted from animals to humans in the market and later passed from humans to humans.
Symptoms of the novel virus include fever, dry cough and trouble breathing.