Surge in Covid-19 cases sparks panic buying in eastern China

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Residents in eastern China rushed to supermarkets to stock up on supplies as new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Jiangsu province.

Footage shows the locals forming long queues to buy daily essentials in several supermarkets in Changzhou city on November 3. Local media reported that some stores took two hours to clear out the throng of frenzied customers.

This comes after the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) issued a notice to residents about securing their own supply of goods for the coming winter. The Changzhou Municipal Bureau of Commerce said the panic may have been worsened by the detection of three new Covid-19 infections in the city.

MOFCOM later said the notice was just an ordinary reminder for locals to prepare for emergencies, and assured the public that the supply of goods will remain stable.

Zhu Xiaoliang, who heads MOFCOM’s Market Operation and Consumption Promotion department, said: ‘Judging from the current situation, the supply of daily necessities in various places is sufficient and should be fully guaranteed.’

Despite its neighbours in the region learning to live with the virus, China has maintained its stringent zero-Covid approach, enforcing severe lockdowns to purge Covid-19 from the country. It is currently beating back a flare-up of the more virulent delta strain, which has already been detected in 19 of its 31 provinces.

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