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Shoppers in Beijing clean store shelves as the district begins mass testing

Shoppers in Beijing clean store shelves as the district begins mass testing

  • Beijing kicks off the first round of mass testing in a densely populated area
  • Mass fuel testing raises fears of food and supply shortages
  • Chinese stock market falls amid fears Beijing will join Shanghai in lockdown

BEIJING, April 25 (Reuters) – Beijing residents snapped up food and other supplies as the city’s largest area began mass COVID-19 testing of all residents on Monday, prompting fears of a Shanghai-style lockdown after dozens of cases in the capital in Recently. days.

Authorities in Chaoyang District, home to 3.45 million people, late Sunday ordered residents and those who work there to be tested three times this week as Beijing warned the virus had spread “steally” in the city for nearly a week before it was detected.

“I’m preparing for the worst,” said a graduate student in neighboring Haidian District surnamed Zhang, who placed online orders for dozens of snacks and 10 pounds of apples.

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Shoppers in the city flock to stores and online platforms to stock up on leafy greens, fresh meats, instant noodles and toilet paper rolls.

In Shanghai, where most of its 25 million residents have been locked down for weeks, a major bottleneck in the food supply has been a lack of enough couriers to deliver supplies to homes, fueling anger among residents. Read more

In Beijing, supermarket chains including Carrefour (CARR.PA) And Womart said they have more than doubled stocks, while Mituan stocks (3690.HK) The e-commerce platform focused on groceries has increased stocks and the number of employees for sorting and delivery, according to the state-backed Beijing Daily.

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Since Friday, Beijing has reported 70 locally transmitted cases in eight of its 16 provinces, with Chaoyang accounting for 46 of the total, a local health official said Monday.

Even in areas such as Haidian that have not yet reported any cases in the current outbreak, growing concern is being felt about the food supply.

While the number of cases in the Chinese capital is small compared to instances globally and hundreds of thousands in Shanghai, Chaoyang District has asked residents to reduce public activities, although most schools, shops and offices remain open.

Chinese stocks fell on Monday, with the leading CSI300 index (.CSI300) It closed down 4.9% at a two-year low, weighed by fears it was about to join Shanghai in closings. L2N2WN0GK READ MORE

Shanghai Composite Index (.SSEC) It declined by 5.1%.

Chaoyang District in Beijing is home to many wealthy residents and most foreign embassies as well as entertainment venues and corporate headquarters. It has little manufacturing.

“The current outbreak in Beijing is surreptitiously spreading from sources that are as yet unknown and developing rapidly,” a municipal official said on Sunday.

More than a dozen buildings in Chaoyang District have been closed. For the rest of the area, people were scheduled to be tested on Monday and again on Wednesday and Friday.

On Monday morning, people lined up at makeshift testing sites run by medical workers in protective suits. Under China’s mass testing campaigns, multiple samples are tested together.

“I came as the notice suggested, 6 am, for the test just to make sure I could work on time,” said a man in his 30s who was queuing for testing at his apartment complex.

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By early afternoon, movement restrictions were tightened in part of Chaoyang District, with residents being told not to leave the area at all and not to leave their local compounds for non-essential reasons, state TV reported.

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Additional reporting by Ryan Wu, Roxanne Liu, Moyu Shuo, Chang Min, and Alby Zhang; Editing by Tony Munro, Himani Sarkar, Emilia Sithole Mataris and Alex Richardson

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.