China lockdown fears spark panic-buying in Beijing as fresh Covid clampdown looms

China lockdown fears spark panic-buying in Beijing as fresh Covid clampdown looms
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Aden-Jay Wood

By Aden-Jay Wood

Published: 25/04/2022

- 16:31

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 11:41

Essentials such as milk, rice and eggs have been snatched off supermarket shelves

Fears surrounding a fresh Covid lockdown in Beijing have sparked a surge in panic-buying.

Supermarket shelves have been emptied of essentials such as milk, rice, eggs and frozen meat, despite calls from state officials urging the public not to worry.

Online stores are also struggling to meet demand, with customers being urged to expect substantial delays to deliveries.

One resident, Zhao, said he bought extra items from the shop today because he wanted to make sure his young child had enough food if they were told to stay at home.

Customers wearing face masks shop at the vegetables section of a supermarket following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China April 25, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Beijing citizens rush to buy supermarket essentials

Residents line up at a makeshift nucleic acid testing site during a mass testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following the outbreak, in Beijing, China April 25, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang REFILE-QUALITY REPEAT
People queue for testing in Beijing

He said: “Adults can survive for a few days, but it’s not the same for children.”

Another person, Wang, 48, said she believes “things will become like in Shanghai”.

She added: “People are anxious, everyone is snapping up goods and we’re worried that items might run out.”

People are also reportedly panic-buying food storage appliances across Beijing, with one online store telling Beijing Evening News it sold 300 freezers on Sunday, a similar number to what it usually sells in a month.

Beijing reported 19 new Covid infections on Monday, with authorities warning that the virus has been circulating around the city much more than official figures suggest.

Shanghai residents, who are already in a strict lockdown, have recently taken to social media to warn their Beijing counterparts to stock up.

The ruling Communist Party has also implemented a compulsory testing rule for all Beijing residents in a bid to stem any potential outbreak.

Health expert Liang Wannian said China has to continue its strict policies in order “to protect people’s lives and the economy”.

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