A Covid testing order has prompted lockdown fears in one of Beijing's largest districts, with people rushing to the supermarket and panic buying.
Late on Sunday, authorities in Chaoyang ordered those who live and work there to be tested three times this week.
The district is home to 3.45 million people and authorities are concerned about the "stealthily" spread of Covid-19 in the area.
With the looming threat of lockdown and the knowledge of Shanghai residents struggling to get food and other essentials while in lockdown, Chaoyang residents flooded local supermarkets.
"Beijing’s largest district (where I live) is undergoing mass 'routine PCR testing' beginning tomorrow after 40 or so Covid cases in the last week," National Public Radio's Emily Feng said on Twitter.
With #Beijing reporting a slew of local #COVID19 cases, people have started stocking up on essentials fearing a possible lockdown. Was greeted with empty shelves & hordes of people at the usually quiet neighborhood supermarket pic.twitter.com/yOAEaQmOvS
— Shamim Zakaria (@shamimzakaria) April 24, 2022
Ms Feng shared a picture of a line running along the roadside near a supermarket.
"I was obviously too late to the supermarkets for vegetables," CNBC Bureau Chief Eunice Yoon said on social media, sharing pictures of bare shelves.
Beijing’s largest district (where I live) is undergoing mass “routine PCR testing” beginning tomorrow after 40 or so Covid cases in the last week. Most residents are interpreting this as sign of imminent, total lockdown. Long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets tonight. 😷 pic.twitter.com/Vo8zmtuNBh
— Emily Feng 冯哲芸 (@EmilyZFeng) April 24, 2022
I was obviously too late to the supermarkets for vegetables.😖 Beijing is requiring 3 #COVID19 tests this week for the 3.45mn of us who work and live in its biggest district. #China capital reported 22 new cases Sat. pic.twitter.com/tXNi1orX0i
— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) April 24, 2022
No more veggies at this supermarket in Beijing either… pic.twitter.com/hJnRFK3off
— Byron Wan (@Byron_Wan) April 24, 2022
Panic buying has been seen throughout the world during the pandemic.
Almost every time a lockdown was announced in Australia, similar scenes were observed at supermarkets, resulting in product limits and warning from politicians.
Other posts to social media show empty shelves inside supermarkets, the vegetable stock almost wiped out and people piling into the aisles.
One Chaoyang resident Di was able to get two bags of vegetables, enough for eight to 10 days, just in case his building is put into lockdown like several others in the region.
"Shanghai was a lesson," he told Reuters, adding that he doesn't believe Beijing will suffer the same fate.
Beijing's Covid caseload remains low, especially when compared to the cases globally and the hundreds of thousands in Shanghai.
At a supermarket in Beijing's Hepingli neighborhood on Monday, one woman, 79, had planned to come a day earlier, but had to take care of a sick family member. Looking out across the depleted aisle, Ms. Ma was sullen. “I should have come yesterday.”https://t.co/vAVl3x36GT pic.twitter.com/oOlPLbxnIP
— Jonathan Cheng (@JChengWSJ) April 26, 2022
On Monday, there were 23,720 Covid cases reported in China — over 19,000 in Shanghai alone and just 19 in Beijing, The Guardian reported.
In Shanghai, unsettling scenes amid the lockdown have been documented on social media. In one case, residents were seen confronting pandemic workers demanding supplies.
As of now, most of the schools, stores and offices in Chaoyang remain open. The district is home to many wealthy residents, most foreign embassies and entertainment venues and corporate headquarters.
Earlier in April, China revealed it has the capacity to carry out 51.65 million Covid tests every day, which accounts for roughly 3.6 per cent of the country's population.
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