The fear of a strict confinement led many Pekingese to make emergency purchaseswhile large queues formed in the central district to carry out the massive tests ordered by the Chinese authorities.
At the same time, China is trying to contain a wave of infections in its largest city, Shanghai, which has been in lockdown for several weeks and reported 51 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday.
Shanghai has struggled to provide fresh food to people in lockdown, while patients report problems accessing medical care for other ailments.
The main district of central Beijing, Chaoyang, with 3.5 million people, ordered massive tests to be carried out on its inhabitants and those who work on the site, where several companies operate multinationals and embassies.
Queues to get tested
Lines to get tested for the coronavirus surrounded shopping malls and office buildings.
“If they detect a single case, this area could be affected,” said Yao Leiming, a 25-year-old office worker, as he waited for the test.
The warnings of a covid outbreak in the city generated on Sunday a rush to Beijing supermarkets in search of essential products.
Numerous products on shopping delivery apps were sold out Sunday night after the testing order was announced, but they restocked on Monday.
Zhao, a Beijing resident, bought several bags of groceries including eggs and vegetables on Monday after hearing the mass testing order.
The 31-year-old said he wanted to make sure his toddler had enough food if the family was ordered to stay home. “Adults can survive a few days, but it’s not the same for children,” said Zhao, who only gave his last name. Wang, another shopper at a supermarket, said she feared “things will turn like Shanghai.”
“People are anxious…everyone is hoarding products and we’re scared things will run out,” the 48-year-old said.
at least one Beijing residential building was closedwhile the capital’s gyms had to cancel classes or close.
Beijing also imposed severe controls on entering the city, including the presentation of negative tests for covid-19.
The capital has reported dozens of infections in the last week, including 14 new cases on Monday, following warnings that the virus had been circulating for days without being detected.
But the figures from Beijing are insignificant compared to those of Shanghai, which has registered more than half a million infections since March 1.
The city, China’s economic engine with 25 million inhabitantsseeks to contain its worst outbreak of the virus in two years following its zero covid policy, which contemplates strict confinements, massive tests and travel restrictions.
The authorities consider that such a policy helped China to avoid the great health collapses seen in other parts of the world during the covid crisis, but at the same time it hit companies and the population.
The term “hard confinement” became a trend the weekend at chinese social media after images were released from Shanghai in which the authorities closed the entrance of buildings with metal sheets.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.