‘Hard to Buy Groceries’: Strict COVID-19 Lockdown Leaves a Chinese City Devastated

By Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li is a reporter for The Epoch Times based in Europe.
December 29, 2021 Updated: December 29, 2021

With COVID-hit Xi’an city tightly locked down, residents said they are facing the basic challenge of getting food.

More than 13 million residents in Xi’an, the provincial capital of northwestern Shaanxi Province, entered their sixth day of home confinement on Dec. 28.

Initially, one family member was allowed to leave the home to buy necessities every two days, but restrictions soon stepped up. Starting from Dec. 27, residents were barred from leaving their neighborhoods unless permitted to for COVID-19 testing.

A resident in the city’s Yanta district shared about their difficulties buying groceries and other necessities to Chinese-language news outlet NTD, a sister media of The Epoch Times.

“Now, the prices of vegetables have risen a lot … but the problem is you still can’t buy any for even double the price,” said the woman who goes by the surname Wang.

Wang said vegetables are hard to deliver as all the roads in Yanta district have been closed.

Xi’an has banned private vehicles from the roads since Monday. The public security bureau has told residents that breaking the rules could result in 10 days detention and a fine of 500 yuan ($80).

Officials said in a Monday notice that shopping could resume for people in less risky areas once test results come back negative, but did not say exactly when the suspension would be lifted. The city started a new round of mass testing on Monday.

“It feels like a long time,” a 22-year-old resident surnamed Jin told Reuters.

“The fact that I haven’t yet been told when I can shop again makes me a bit anxious,” he said after running out of fresh greens and unable to make orders online without waiting for nearly a week before delivery.

China’s Twitter-like Weibo has been flooded with people complaining about problems getting food.

“I can’t remember how many days I have lived on instant noodles … now, there are no instant noodles left,” wrote a user.

“Residents in Xi’an have no food … please help.”

“I’m really too hungry to sleep,” a user wrote at midnight. “I followed the authorities’ advice not to stock up on food at the beginning of the lockdown … now, my housing compound won’t let me out, and there is no delivery service.”

The hashtag, “Hard to buy groceries in Xi’an” garnered more than 160 million views on Weibo as of Tuesday evening. “[I] feel Xi’an is not hit by the pandemic, but by famine,” a user joked. “All that’s in the news is food,” said another.

Local government-backed media said on Tuesday night that government workers are busy delivering food. Local authorities claimed on Monday that supplies have been stable as they tightened up travel restrictions.

Despite the sweeping measures the Xi’an government has taken, daily infections continue to rise. Xi’an city officially reported 175 new cases on Tuesday, pushing the total infected number to 810 since Dec. 9.

Given the Chinese regime is known to grossly underreport its virus numbers, the official figure is not likely to reflect the true total. But the figure represents the highest reported daily count across China since the outbreak first emerged in Wuhan city.

Cases linked to Xi’an have been detected in five other regions, including China’s capital Beijing. Local authorities are under pressur to contain its latest COVID-19 outbreak driven by the spread of the Delta variant as Beijing is set to hold the Winter Olympics in six weeks, which the regime has pledged will be a “COVID-safe” Games.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Dorothy Li
Dorothy Li is a reporter for The Epoch Times based in Europe.