China extends lockdown as Covid cases climb; People complained about lack of food on social media

Hundreds of thousands of people were confined to their homes in northern China on Tuesday as the country battled its worst Covid in 21 months and residents took to social media to complain about food shortages.

China – where the virus emerged two years ago – has followed a “zero-Covid” strategy of strict border restrictions, lengthy quarantines and targeted lockdowns as Beijing prepares to welcome thousands of foreign visitors to February’s Winter Olympics.

But officials have faced a resurgent virus in recent weeks, reporting 209 infections on Tuesday – the highest single-day tally since March last year, when the pandemic raged in the central city of Wuhan.

The increase – while largely lower than cases in Europe and the United States – has prompted officials to impose “tougher” possible restrictions in the northern city of Xi’an, whose 13 million residents are entering a sixth day. Huh. of house imprisonment.

Along with undergoing multiple rounds of testing, families are limited to sending one person out every three days to buy groceries.

Nearby cities, including Yan’an, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from Xi’an, have also recorded cases linked to the flare – closing businesses on Tuesday and ordering hundreds of thousands of people to stay indoors in one district.

The Xi’an lockdown is the most extensive in China since the same size Wuhan was locked down.

Xi’an has recorded more than 800 coronavirus cases since December 9, the state-run Global Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, with the youngest case being 38 days old.

‘No food’

Several residents on Tuesday posted on social media platforms seeking help in getting food and other essentials.

One person wrote on the Weibo site, “I’m going to starve.”

“There’s no food, my housing complex won’t let me out, and I’m about to run out of instant noodles… please help!”

Another wrote, “I don’t want to hear any more news about how everything is fine. So what if supplies are so abundant – they’re worthless if you don’t actually give them to people.”

Officials have insisted that supplies remain stable as they maintain tight controls on movement in and out of Xi’an.

A Xi’an resident nicknamed Liu told AFP on Tuesday that the chaotic management of some communities was behind the shortage.

“Supply at stores on our premises is currently fine – but prices are higher than normal times,” he said.

A resident surnamed Wei said her campus staff collected residents’ online orders at the entrance and delivered them personally to her door.

“I haven’t experienced a shortage of supplies,” she said. “The community informed us before the lockdown happened, so I managed to stock up.”

According to state broadcaster CCTV, Xi’an has set up more than 4,400 sampling sites and deployed more than 100,000 people to handle the latest round of testing.

Footage showed masked residents queuing for tests in streets and sports centers, while health workers in blue hazmat suits were shown on state TV using hoses to spray disinfectant on uninhabited streets .

According to the CCTV report, students have also been banned from stepping out of the university hostels unless necessary.

In Xianyang – a nearby city of four million with about a dozen cases – the local Red Cross branch appealed for cash donations from the public, saying “consumption and demand for protective gear is huge at the moment”.

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