A 13-year-old boy was recently forced to live alone at his family’s apartment home in China’s Kunshan city for 66 consecutive days after his parents visited neighboring Shanghai for medical treatment in late February and became trapped in the city when it was locked down to contain its latest epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported Monday.
“The boy’s parents travelled to Shanghai on February 28 to seek medical treatment for his father and were only allowed to return to their home in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, eastern China, at the end of April,” the newspaper reported May 9, citing an original report by the Communist Party-run Beijing Youth Daily.
“After staying in a central quarantine facility for another week, the couple were finally reunited with their son last Friday [May 6],” the SCMP revealed, suggesting the boy’s parents were forcibly quarantined by state authorities before being allowed to return to their home.
Boy survives 66 days home alone with pets after parents stuck in Covid lockdown https://t.co/JTv1EncYfo
— South China Morning Post (@SCMPNews) May 9, 2022
The teenager busied himself during the unexpected isolation period by attending online classes during the school week and caring for his family’s pet cat and dog. The boy’s mother, identified only by her surname, Zhu, told Beijing Youth Daily she had organized a food delivery service for her son in March but this plan was thwarted “for several weeks in April” when Kunshan city launched its own lockdown to contain a local Chinese coronavirus outbreak.
“Concerned about her son’s well-being, Zhu said she cried while speaking with him over the phone,” the SCMP relayed.
“He was very optimistic. He even reassured me, saying: ‘Why are you crying? There’s nothing to worry about. You can teach me how to cook,’” Zhu recounted.
Chinese Communist Party officials in charge of guarding residential compound entrances and exits at the family’s apartment complex during Kunshan’s lockdown “were able to help by sending boxed lunches to the boy every day,” according to Beijing Youth Daily.
Zhu said she additionally taught her son how to cook simple meals over the telephone using ingredients she had smartly stocked up on prior to the ordeal.
“I had hoarded some supplies before I left home, such as hand grasping cakes, a kind of wheat flour-made food, half-cooked, chicken steaks and chicken wings,” the mother said.
“When he got bored with pre-prepared meals, he asked me to teach him how to cook,” Zhu added.
When Zhu and her husband finally returned to their Kunshan residence on May 6, the apartment home was so cluttered and messy that, “There was no place for us to even put our feet down,” she revealed.
“But I didn’t get angry at all. Instead, my heart ached for him,” the mother said.
Shanghai’s ongoing lockdown caused dire food shortages across the Chinese financial hub in April as food delivery services were either suspended or hampered by logistical bottlenecks caused by movement restrictions and business closures.