Elderly leave cities as COVID infections surge in China

Three days ago, Lily Wang tested positive for COVID-19.

Isolating in her small apartment in Shenzhen, the 29-year-old is currently fighting a high fever and a sore throat.

Despite her own illness, Wang’s thoughts were for her grandmother who has been spared from sickness so far, thanks to the quick actions of her parents.

“My parents got my grandmother out of the city in time,” Wang said over the phone between bouts of coughing.

Two days after dropping her grandmother off with relatives in the countryside, both of Wang’s parents fell sick.

Almost all of Wang’s work colleagues are stricken by COVID too, she adds.

Across China, those who can afford it are getting their elderly relatives out of the major cities to protect them from succumbing to the wave of COVID-19 that is currently battering the country.

“The COVID situation is really bad right now,” 24-year-old Shuwen Lu told Al Jazeera over a WeChat connection from her home in Beijing.

Lu, who is also currently fighting a COVID infection, told how her grandparents were helped out of Beijing to a small village where the family has a house.

“Had they stayed in the city, they might soon have joined the countless elderly people that are dying right now,” Lu said.