BEIJING - A Chinese teenage boy suffering from cerebral palsy was found dead at home in Hubei province six days after his father and younger brother were quarantined for suspected infection with a novel coronavirus.
Seventeen-year-old Yan Cheng, his 11-year-old brother and their father Yan Xiaowen, 49, who had been working in Hubei's capital city Wuhan, where thousands of people have been struck by the highly infectious virus, returned to their village in Huahe township on Jan 17, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Thursday (Jan 30).
The virus, first discovered in Wuhan, has since spread to other provinces in China and abroad.
On Jan 24, Mr Yan and his younger son, who was autistic, were quarantined at a treatment centre after showing symptoms of infection. But the quadriplegic Yan Cheng was left alone at home.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition caused by brain damage and affects a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture.
Worried for his son, Mr Yan appealed for help on the Chinese Twitter-like Weibo on Tuesday. But Yan Cheng was found dead a day later.
Village officials claimed that Yan Cheng had food on Jan 24 and Jan 26 and was attended to by a village doctor on Jan 28, according to Mr Yan in his post.
Mr Yan's account has since been deleted, South China Morning Post reported. Yan Cheng's mother reportedly killed herself after the birth of his younger brother.
Yan Cheng's death was confirmed by a Huahe government official, who said a probe has been launched.
"There is no way we will leave a child with cerebral palsy at home unattended," the official was quoted as saying by Beijing Youth Daily.
"But it's a fact that the child has died. The higher authorities will investigate us and there will naturally be a just explanation."