A Chinese healthcare worker has sparked outrage after being filmed beating a helpless dog to death over unfounded fears it could spread COVID-19.
The disturbing video, verified by Agence France-Presse, shows the worker completely covered in a hazmat suit as the corgi wanders in an otherwise deserted Shanghai street amid draconian lockdowns.
The clip, which has gone viral on Chinese social media, ends with the corgi lying in a pool of blood on the side of the road as the healthcare worker leans on a 4-foot high stick used in the culling.
The corgi had been left on the street because its owners had been forced into a quarantine facility and feared it would starve if left alone, according to online messages seen by The Telegraph.
“We hoped to let him outside to be like a stray dog. We didn’t want him to starve to death,” the dog’s owner said.
“We never expected that he would be beaten to death.”
A state-run Shanghai media outlet said Thursday that the local neighborhood committee admitted culling the dog because they were “afraid of being infected,” AFP said.
The officials conceded it was “thoughtless,” the report said.
The clip has sparked outrage in China’s financial hub, where locals were already protesting over the harsh lockdowns imposed in the city of 26 million as the rest of the world learns to live with the contagion.
Local officials justified the strict measures because of record caseloads topping 20,000 a day — even though 98 percent have been asymptomatic.
Other viral videos show residents scuffling with hazmat-clad officials and bursting through a barricade onto a street amid a dire food shortage.
The measures are so harsh, about 1,000 people were locked in a mall overnight in neighboring Hangzhou just because two women from Shanghai had visited the center, The Telegraph said.
Another shows a drone whirring through a housing compound at night — telling residents to “control your soul’s desire for freedom,” AFP reported.
Despite evidence that the extreme policy is neither needed nor working, experts believe it will remain in China, despite being used throughout most of the rest of the world more than two years after COVID first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“Zero-Covid is not just a Party policy, but … a Xi policy,” Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute in London, told AFP, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“As such it cannot be wrong and cannot be abandoned — at least not until Xi sees its continuation will harm himself or his hold on power.”