Wuhan pensioner Zhong Hanneng experienced a parent's worst nightmare when COVID-19 claimed her son in February. Alongside grieving relatives, she wants to sue the local government for the death of her son.

Accusing of Wuhan Government of Concealing COVID-19's Emergence

Zhong reportedly set forth a lawsuit for the death of her 39-year-old son due to the novel coronavirus. She brought a lawsuit against the Wuhan provincial government for veiling the initial stages of the outbreak but was abruptly declined by the court.

According to Zhang Hai, another relative of a COVID-19 victim, at least five legal cases have been filed with the Wuhan Intermediate People's Court. Numerous other next-of-kin are pressurized by authorities not to issue lawsuits, reported SCMP.

The families blame the Wuhan and Hubei provincial governments for keeping the coronavirus outbreak furtive when it first surfaced in late 2019, prompting the virus to escalate to prevalence. "They say the epidemic was a natural calamity. But these serious outcomes are man-made," according to Zhong, 67, reported The Times of India.

They accuse the Wuhan and Hubei provincial governments of their failure to caution the public and mismanaging their response.

COVID-19 has led to almost 3,900 fatalities in Wuhan and over 900,000 across the globe, reported ABS-CBN News.

Lawsuits Refused

At least five lawsuits have been issued with Wuhan's Intermediate Court. Complainants are seeking an estimated 2 million yuan ($295,000) but they have had their lawsuits declined.

Zhong added, "Our family is shattered. I can never be happy again."

Zhang Hai's elderly father died of COVID-19. She has emerged as an outspoken advocate and spokesperson for families of the virus victims.

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The Wuhan Intermediate Court refused to comment.

Plaintiffs are also demanding a public apology. According to Yang Zhanqing, a veteran Chinese activist now based in the United States, the court has declined lawsuits on unidentified procedural grounds.

Yang, who is working with two dozen lawyers in China who are furtively advising families, stated that the rejections have come via phone calls instead of formally through official written explanations as legally required which is reportedly to avoid a paper trail.

Downplaying

COVID-19 first surfaced in Wuhan in December 2019 but city authorities initially stonewalled it, underscoring to whistle-blowing doctors to keep the situation under wraps.

The Communist Party initiated a grand ceremony in Beijing last week. President Xi Jinping's announcement indicated that China had passed an "extraordinary and historic test" through a fast and transparent counterattack.

According to Zhong, by late January, the contagion was rapidly becoming prevalent in Wuhan, but officials had not yet released a citywide caution.

Prior to the extended Lunar New Year festivities, Zhong and her son Peng Yi happily shopped at crowded stores. "We had no idea the buses were full of the virus... So we went out every day. We didn't even know about masks," stated Zhong.

As Wuhan finally began quarantine measures, she and Peng fell ill. Zhong recovered soon but her son's illness aggravated.

For the next weeks filled with turmoil, the parent and her son spent long hours in overcrowded hospitals pleading to get him admitted. Without a confirmed positive result and with scarce testing kits, he was repeatedly not attended to.

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