Residents in the Chinese city of Xi’an claimed they were having trouble finding enough food, despite Beijing’s assurances on Thursday that supplies were enough.
Since the virus first appeared in a key city in late 2019, China has pursued a stringent “zero Covid” strategy comprising strong border controls and fast, targeted lockdowns.
On Thursday, the country’s commerce ministry informed reporters that the 13 million people of Xi’an, who have been under lockdown for eight days, had “sufficient” access to critical commodities.
Workers in hazmat suits were seen putting eggs, meat, and vegetables into plastic bags before delivering them to households’ door-to-door, according to state television.
At a subsequent news conference, local officials said that hundreds of tons of free food and supplies had been distributed in recent days.
Residents, on the other hand, were advised to show “understanding and tolerance” while they worked out the “discrepancies” caused by the overabundance. “At present, Xi’an is speeding up its preparations and coordination [for delivering supplies],” said to Zhao Li, a local official.
“There will be some discrepancies in the timing of supplies during this process, which also varies in practical terms from place to place.” People within Xi’an who were contacted by AFP said they were unable to get adequate food.
Ada Zhao, a resident, said she knew of a few specific housing compounds that had received delivery, but that the amount was “still a very small number.”
“In our community, we’ve not received any notices on deliveries of life essentials and how to collect them.” People are “struggling to get the food they need on time” because of rising demand for online grocery services, she added, which means there isn’t enough stock or drivers.
Another lady who talked to AFP claimed she hadn’t gotten any food but had received a delivery two days before from a local convenience shop. “I have rice at home… I have several eggs left — one per meal, one meal per day,” she explained.
While modest in comparison to global epidemics, daily infections in Xi’an remained significant by Chinese norms, with another 155 illnesses confirmed on Thursday. Since December 9, there have been over a thousand instances in the city.
Ordering all automobiles off the road, asking students to stay in their dorms, and conducting numerous rounds of mass testing have all been used to manage the city cluster.
One inhabitant, who did not want to be identified, told AFP she only had enough food when she persuaded the gatekeeper to allow her go to the shop for a half-hour to collect supplies.
She claimed supplies were limited and the veggies were old, and that police had been stationed outside the block by Thursday.
The restrictions permitted one person out every two days to stock up on supplies when the lockdown was declared last week. Residents were then only permitted out once every three days, before they were no longer let out at all.
Some households reported receiving food shipments online, but many more said they were still in need.
“I heard friends in other districts got their food delivered, but not here in Weiyang district,” a Weiyang district resident named Wang told AFP, adding that she was using up all of her supplies.
“I live on…. a bowl of porridge everyday — just a little bit to keep alive.”