Rumors of a corona lockdown in Beijing have triggered a rush to supermarkets in the Chinese capital. Long queues formed in numerous shops on Thursday, customers carried shopping baskets full of vegetables, others sacks with rice. While authorities didn’t announce a lockdown, they did confirm the start of three more rounds of mass testing for residents in 12 counties. They also “recommended” people to stay at home.

Officials said at their daily press conference that there was no reason for panic buying. The population should remain calm. “The so-called lockdown and ‘quiet period’ are rumours,” official Xu Hejian said.

The metropolis in China has tried to contain a corona wave in the past few weeks by closing subway stations and calling on people to work from home. Hundreds of residential complexes have been sealed off to prevent the spread of the corona virus.

Residents fear that the same draconian measures could be imposed in Beijing as in the city of Shanghai, which has a population of 25 million. Most people there were stuck at home for weeks, although initially there was only talk of a short lockdown.

Sui Xin, 41, told AFP at a supermarket in central Beijing that he had read online networks that Beijing authorities could impose a lockdown. “Everyone stocks up,” he said while shopping for eggs and instant noodles.

“I’m covered if I have to stay home for three or seven days,” he said. A customer by the name of Huang said in another supermarket that he only got chicken wings and noodles, “there is nothing else”.


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