Disabled Chinese boy dies alone while family quarantined for coronavirus

A teen, who could not move independently because of his cerebral palsy, has died after he was left on his own for six days while his father and brother were tested for the potentially deadly coronavirus.

Yan Cheng and brother Xiao Wei

Yan Cheng and his young brother Xiao Wei Source: AsiaWIre

A 17-year-old from a rural town in China’s Hubei province is reported to have died alone in his family home - while his father and younger brother had been sent away to be quarantined for the infectious coronavirus.

State-run newspaper Beijing Youth Daily reported it had confirmed the teens death on January 29 with local government officials from Hong’an County, which is situated 60 miles north of Wuhan.

Yan Cheng and his young brother Xiao Wei
Source: AsiaWIre

The boy, Yan Cheng, suffered from severe cerebral palsy which greatly inhibited his ability to move independently and limited his speech, with the severity of his symptoms making round-the-clock care essential.

Yan Cheng is reported to have been left at home in bed alone after his father, Yan Xiaowen, came down with a fever along with his younger son - with the pair isolated in a quarantine facility 15 miles away from their home suspected to be carrying the coronavirus. 

Unable to get back to his son, his father used the social media platform Weibo to plea with members of the public to help as he feared village officials were neglecting him.[[{"fid":"1706372","view_mode":"body_content","uuid":"e7b15874-9612-475e-8b2d-a9dd1b4e84e9","type":"media","attributes":{"height":"700","width":"390","style":"font-size: 13.008px;","alt":"Yan Xiaowen","title":"Yan Xiaowen appeals to public to help care for son ","class":"media-element file-body-content"}}]]

“My eldest son has cerebral palsy, and can’t move his body. He can’t talk, he can’t look after himself,” Yan Xiaowen posted.

“Without someone feeding him, and without a protective suit from the local authorities and hospital, I worry that my child can’t make it any longer.”

Local officials allegedly only fed Yan Cheng twice in the six days he was on his own but were apparently planning to move the boy closer to his father to receive proper help the same afternoon he died.

Hong’an County government officials have reportedly launched an investigation into the death.


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Published 31 January 2020 at 5:09pm, updated 31 January 2020 at 5:43pm
By Bethan Smoleniec