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As Beijing district begins mass testing, customers clear store shelves

After hundreds of COVID-19 instances in the capital in recent days, locals rushed to buy food and other supplies as the city’s largest district began mass testing of all residents on Monday, raising worries of a Shanghai-style lockdown.

Authorities in Chaoyang, which has a population of 3.45 million people, ordered residents and workers to be tested three times this week after Beijing warned that the virus had spread “silently” throughout the city for almost a week before being discovered. City dwellers flocked to supermarkets and online platforms to stock up on healthy greens, fresh meat, instant noodles, and toilet paper rolls.

The biggest food supply bottleneck in Shanghai, where most of the city’s 25 million residents have been locked down for weeks, has been a dearth of couriers to make deliveries to houses, fueling locals’ rage.

According to the state-backed Beijing Daily, supermarket chains such as Carrefour and Wumart stated they had more than doubled inventory, while Meituan’s grocery-focused e-commerce platform expanded stocks and the number of personnel for sorting and delivery.

Beijing has reported 47 locally transmitted cases since Friday, with Chaoyang accounting for over half of them. Even in places like Haidian, where no instances of the current outbreak have been reported, there is rising concern about food supplies.

Despite the fact that the number of cases in the Chinese capital is minimal compared to those throughout the world and the hundreds of thousands in Shanghai, residents in Chaoyang were urged to curtail public activities, even though most schools, stores, and offices remained open.

Many rich people, most foreign embassies, entertainment venues, and corporate headquarters are all located in the Chaoyang district.
It has a small manufacturing sector. In Chaoyang, more than a dozen buildings have been placed under lockdown. People in the rest of the district were to be tested on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

People lined at improvised testing sites manned by medical workers in protective costumes on Monday morning. Multiple samples are analyzed concurrently in China’s bulk testing initiatives. Residents in one part of Chaoyang were advised not to leave the area at all, and not to leave their local compounds for non-essential reasons by the early afternoon, according to official television.

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