Half of Beijing Reportedly Infected, Residents Hoarding Food, Fear Prolonged Lockdown

Infections have been reportedly found in half of Beijing residents, China’s capital city, a possible signal to accelerate its zero-COVID containment pace and lockdown like Shanghai. Local residents are scrambling to hoard food and supplies in fear of starving during the impending lockdown.

The epidemic situation in Beijing is “serious and complex,” staging “at a critical point,” said the municipal epidemic prevention and control office on April 25, announcing that in just three days, from April 22 -25, the COVID-19 virus expanded from the Shunyi and Chaoyang districts to the Fangshan, Changping, Fengtai, Xicheng, Yanqing, and Tongzhou districts, covering half of Beijing.

Chaoyang district has set up more than 1,300 nucleic acid test sites to sample all staff, while each household is sealed off and supervised. The sites will reportedly test on April 27 and 29. Restaurant, entertainment, and indoor fitness facilities in the district are closed down, and schools have transferred to online teaching, according to China News on April 25.

Beijing, a megacity of 21 million people, is likely the next target for zero-COVID restrictions. Shanghai, China’s economic center, is in a fourth week of lockdown, with many residents begging online for food and medical care.

Fearing that a similar situation may occur, Beijing residents are rushing to stock up on food and basic supplies.

“Now, when people hear that there are confirmed cases, the first thing they do is go to the supermarket and stockpile food,” Liu Bo (a pseudonym), who lives in the Chaoyang district, told The Epoch Times on April 25.

Liu believes that public panic regarding food scarcity should be blamed on the authorities’ propaganda: “The Omicron mutant strain is not that terrible, while the government propaganda emphasizing the dynamic zero-clearance curbs is scaring the people.”

“It’s really disgusting that [everyone in Chaoyang district] has to get up at five o’clock in the morning for a nucleic acid test, and we are still enduring … [I’m] not sure how much longer we can put up with it,” Liu said.

Gao Shan (pseudonym), an independent scholar, told The Epoch Times that Beijing is now in a state of panic, and the first words people say to each other are: ‘Have you stocked up on food?’”

A China-style lockdown is really “dangerous,” said Gao, citing that people are worried that after the closure, the management will not be good enough to keep up with the supply of goods.

“This will bring about the horrible consequences of so many people not getting enough food to live on, or to the doctor when they are ill,” Gao added.

“The government is now doing this [zero-COVID restriction] in every province and city, but how can it be zeroed out? In some areas, farmers are not even allowed to plant their land, so what will we eat if they don’t plant?” Gao asked.

Compared to the many other countries that have opened up, China’s adherence to its severe anti-COVID policy would drag down the country’s economy, “this is self-destructive [for the Chinese Communist Party],” Gao said.

Beijing’s escalating anti-virus measures came on April 22, when the city reported a new confirmed positive case of a couple who work in Beiwu village, Beiwu town, Shunyi district. The village was subsequently closed for overnight nucleic acid testing of everyone.

On the same day, more new cases were found in the Chaoyang district, including a student at Huiwen middle school’s Chuiyangliu branch, who was quickly put in quarantine. The school informed people that classes would be suspended for 7 days, but did not indicate a resumption date.

Additionally, all teachers, students, and parents were notified through WeChat, the Chinese Twitter-like social media, that they should go home immediately after receiving the Huiwen middle school notice, isolate themselves at home, and not leave their homes.

Reporting from The Epoch Times.