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'Baby hatch' halted in Guangzhou

2014-03-17 08:46 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

A baby hatch in a southern China city has been halted on Sunday amid mounting pressure from the increasing number of babies, local authorities said.

The baby hatch in Guangzhou city, capital of Guangdong Province, has received 262 babies since it began operation late January, causing tremendous pressure on its operator, the Guangzhou City Welfare Center (GCWC), said Xu Jiu, the center's director.

"The number of babies we have received is much higher than those in other baby hatches in the country over the same period," Xu said.

Xu said that rooms, beds, quarantine facilities as well as working staff in the GCWC are facing a shortfall due to the overwhelming baby figures.

A halt of the hatch would help them focus better on treating and distributing the babies, all of whom are diagnosed with certain diseases, Xu added.

But the closing of the hatch will only be temporary, and it will reopen to the public when the situation improves, according to Zhuang Yuequn, director with the Bureau of Civil Affairs of Guangzhou.

A baby hatch allows a parent to safely and anonymously abandon an infant and consists of an incubator, a delayed alarm device, an air conditioner and a baby bed. A person can place the baby in the hatch, press the alarm button, and leave. Welfare staff retrieve the baby five to 10 minutes later.

The first baby hatch in China was set up in June 2011 in Shijiazhuang, capital city of north China's Hebei province. So far, a total of 25 baby hatches have been established in 10 provincial regions in China.

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