Chinese officials have vowed to alleviate food shortages in Xi’an for residents locked in their homes as the country fights the worst Covid-19 epidemic since the Wuhan pandemic began two years ago.
Residents of the settlement central Chinese city of 13m they complained on social media that their food stores were running out and that it was difficult for them to buy more supplies because the stores were closed and movement was sharply restricted.
In many parts of the city, residents are allowed to leave their homes only for mandatory testing on Covid-19 and must rely on uneven delivery services to replenish supplies.
“The shops here aren’t open, that they’re open, we still can’t go down,” said one Xi’an resident on Weib, a social media platform.
“All we can do is add WeChat store owners and sneak in at night. Buying food is like being a thief, ”the person added.
A video of city workers preventing epidemics beating a tenant because he left the apartment and bought food went viral on social media last week. The footage shows half a dozen baked pastries spilling out of a man’s bag as workers pushed him away.
City police on Saturday said they had arrested two workers who attacked the man and fined each of them 200 Rmb ($ 31).
Another city resident complained that he paid 150 Rmb for a bag of vegetables, while others said they had problems procuring medicines and other basic necessities.
“For the next steps, we will continue to strengthen the quality, price and supply of goods for people, and increase our care and support for special groups,” said Lin Jianwen, a senior city official.
He added that the government delivers bags of free vegetables to hundreds of housing estates.
The number of cases in Xi’an is small compared to infection rates in most other countries with 122 new cases reported on Saturday. But the Communist Party of China has treated every epidemic as a crisis as it seeks to maintain the country’s “zero covid” strategy.
The epidemic has infected 1,573 people in the city since mid-December, and nearly 96 percent of the population has been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Some manufacturers, including Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology, have warned that locking measures could disrupt their chip production in the region.
Officials have blamed the Delta variant for the Xi’an outbreak and are determined to keep Omicron out of the country before the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Feb. 4 under strict “bubble” protocols.
Chinese authorities reported 131 new Covid-19 cases in the country on Saturday, up from 175 the previous day.