A doctor in China’s Zhoukou city has been charged with a crime for allegedly treating a fever patient while working at a hospital without a fever clinic.
In China, patients with possible Covid symptoms can only be treated at specially designated hospitals.
The doctor, identified only by their surname Guo, was charged with “obstructing the prevention and control of infectious diseases.”
China is pursuing a zero-Covid policy, employing a tough elimination strategy.
According to a notice issued by Henan provincial authorities, Guo treated the patient at a hospital in Zhoukou from October 29 to November 2, last year.
Guo’s hospital, of which he was vice-director, had not established fever clinics as part of its operations.
In China, doctors are not permitted to treat patients with Covid-like symptoms in hospitals that do not have fever clinics.
Instead, patients are supposed to be sent to “fever clinics,” which were originally established in 2002 to combat the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak.
It is unclear how the alleged incident was discovered or why Guo chose to treat the patient.
According to the state-run news agency Xinhua, if convicted, Guo could face up to seven years in prison.
China has been battling sporadic outbreaks of Covid, along with emerging cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant in cities like Xi’an and Yuzhou – both of which were recently placed into total lockdown.
Authorities are already advising people to stay put ahead of the peak travel season of Chinese New Year that starts at the end of January and runs well into February, during which millions of people are expected to make trips.
Beijing is also ramping up to host the Winter Olympics at the start of next month, casting into doubt its ability to maintain its zero-Covid stance.