Lockdown in China! Supermarkets shut, deliveries restricted as 26 mn people in Shanghai scramble to secure food

New Delhi: With supermarkets shut and deliveries restricted due to a strict Covid-19 lockdown, over 26 million residents in the major Chinese financial centre of Shanghai continue to scramble to secure food.

The government of the city, which is in the grips of its biggest-ever coronavirus outbreak, said on Wednesday (April 6, 2022) that it would not consider lifting restrictions until the latest citywide Covid-19 testing programme is completed and the results evaluated.

Several compounds have been locked down for more than two weeks and residents have grown frustrated with the restrictions, testing requirements and availability of food and other necessities. Many have called for asymptomatic Covid-19 cases to be allowed to quarantine at home, and policies that separate coronavirus positive children from their parents have drawn fire.

Wu Qianyu, an official with the city’s health commission, told a briefing on Wednesday that Shanghai was in a “race against time” against the worst outbreak since the pandemic broke out two years ago.

Biggest challenge getting deliveries to homes

Liu Min, vice-head of Shanghai’s commerce commission, said that authorities were working hard to resolve bottlenecks and take care of the “basic living needs” of the population. She said efforts would be made to ship food and other necessities to Shanghai from other provinces, and would also build emergency supply stations in and around the city to ensure vegetable supplies. 

She, however, stated that the biggest challenge was getting deliveries to homes.

Liu said Shanghai would work to “release delivery capacity”, saying the 11,000 riders working for major e-commerce platforms in the city could go to work if they submitted daily negative Covid nucleic acid and antigen tests.

With official delivery channels either unavailable or severely backlogged, residents have reportedly been using whatever method they can – including community WeChat groups – to try for fresh stocks of fruit and vegetables.

Record 16,766 new asymptomatic Covid-19 cases in Shanghai

Shanghai on Tuesday witnessed a record 16,766 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, up from 13,086 a day earlier. Symptomatic cases also increased to 311 from 268 the day before.

1,415 new Covid-19 cases in China

Nationwide, there were 1,415 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on April 5, up from 1,235 a day earlier, with 1,383 locally transmitted.

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China counts separately, stood at 19,199 compared with 15,355 a day earlier.

Meanwhile, analysts say the impact of the current restrictions on the economy is mounting, especially for small businesses, with nearly 200 million people across China under some sort of lockdown.

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