Do We Deserve Such Punishment: A Wuhan Family's Coronavirus Ordeal

Do We Deserve Such Punishment: A Wuhan Family's Coronavirus Ordeal

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A medical worker puts on a protective suit before entering a sports centre (Reuters)

There were no doctors, nurses or medical equipment at the Wuhan hotel converted into a temporary quarantine facility for suspected coronavirus patients when brothers Wang Xiangkai and Wang Xiangyou arrived two weeks ago.

The next day, Xiangkai, 61, woke to find that Xiangyou, 62, had died.

The Wangs are among tens of thousands of families devastated by the coronavirus in Wuhan, where the medical system has been overwhelmed by the outbreak, despite massive reinforcements and two speedily built new hospitals.

"What did we do to deserve such punishment?" Wang Wenjun, Xiangkai's daughter, said over the phone to Reuters.

A crematorium sent a car to pick up Xiangyou's body, but the family was told no mourning ceremony would be allowed. They could only collect his ashes after 15 days.

Two days before Xiangyou died, doctors at the 4th Hospital of Wuhan had written in a diagnosis that both brothers were likely infected by the coronavirus which has now killed over 1,350 people in China. CT scans showed their lungs had turned "white" with patterns resembling cracked glass, symptomatic of severe viral infections.

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