BEIJING ( Associated Press) – Residents in parts of China’s capital emptied supermarket shelves Friday and flooded delivery apps as the municipal government ordered the construction of quarantine centers and temporary COVID hospitals to be ramped up. -19.
Uncertainty and scattered and unconfirmed reports in at least some Beijing districts have fueled demand for food and other supplies, something the city has not seen in months.
An unusually large number of shoppers left market shelves empty in the city’s northern suburbs, but customers were relatively few in the city center of 21 million, where supplies ran high.
Daily COVID-19 cases across the country are reaching record levels, with 32,695 reported on Friday. Of those, 1,860 were in Beijing, most of whom were asymptomatic.
Makeshift quarantine centers and hastily built makeshift hospitals at gyms, exhibition centers and other locations have gained notoriety for overcrowding, lack of sanitation, lack of food and 24-hour lights.
Many residents of the city have already been advised not to leave their residential complexes, some of which are being sealed. At the entrances, workers covered from head to toe in white protective suits keep unauthorized people out and ensure residents show a recent negative COVID-19 test on their mobile health app to gain entry.
Many college campuses have been closed and virtual classes are being given to new students.
Meanwhile, some grocery delivery services in Beijing have reached their limits.
The surge in demand, coupled with labor shortages, prevented some customers on Friday from scheduling same-day delivery of food and other supplies on popular grocery services such as Alibaba’s Freshippo and Meituan Macai.
Some Chinese users said online that some delivery workers were unable to work because of the lockdown in their districts. The report could not be verified.
There was no immediate comment from Alibaba.
At a press conference on Friday, Xu Hejian, a spokesman for the municipal government, said it was necessary to “strengthen the operation and service guarantees” of quarantine centers and temporary hospitals where people who test positive for COVID-19 are being treated. is taken. police. 19 or have been in close contact with an infected person.
Xu said the authorities should “further speed up” its construction and “coordinate the distribution of location, facilities, materials, personnel and other resources”.
In recent days, officials have repeatedly insisted that China should maintain its “zero COVID” policy, which imposes lockdowns, mass testing and quarantines for anyone suspected of exposure to the virus . The policy is seen as severely affecting the economy and bringing life to a standstill in many Chinese cities, prompting the World Health Organization and other organizations to call for a change of course, which has been criticized by the Communist Party. angrily rejected.