Since China’s Sichuan Province entered “wartime” status on Dec. 8 in response to the new outbreak of COVID-19, local authorities in the provincial capital of Chengdu are enforcing more control measures to curb the spread of the virus, according to residents who spoke with The Epoch Times. The publication also obtained videos that show long lines of people waiting to be tested and droves of cars leaving the city.
After mandatory nucleic acid testing was carried out for some residents in four out of the 13 government districts in Chengdu on Dec. 9, Shenghua district has opened up additional testing centers and required more people to get tested. However, the criteria for determining who must take the test is unclear.
An asymptomatic case was confirmed on Dec. 8. The patient is a staff member of the Minyang Experimental Foreign Language School in Pidu district of Chengdu. The next day, the school cancelled in-person instruction and switched to remote learning for all 37 classes.
Residents Stock up on Food and Supplies
Residents were alarmed when Sichuan entered “wartime” status amid the recent outbreak of COVID-19, fearing that Chengdu could be locked down. Some expect that the outbreak will last through the winter and have taken the precaution of stocking up on food and supplies.
A resident in Anjing town of Pidu district told The Epoch Times on Dec. 9 that “this could just be the beginning.” He said the hospital in Pidu was locked down, the Shaxi Farmers Market has also been closed, and shoppers have to be screened before entering any food markets.
He is anticipating a total lockdown and had already made some preparations early on.
“I bought 5,000 yuan (about $740) worth of pork five days ago and put them in my freezer. I also stored my homegrown vegetables in the fridge. I think the outbreak could get worse this winter. A week ago, I had a hunch that something was going to happen, and it really happened.”
The resident said, “I also told my relatives and friends to buy some rice, noodles, and oil. When the time comes, they may not be able to buy them anywhere even though they have money. My relatives and friends have all stocked up on them.”
He added, “The government says the situation is under control and is prepared for an emergency. But if it gets really serious, how can they help us, right? If things get worse, the roads will be blocked for some time, and how can food supplies be brought in? Then what?”
According to the resident, as soon as the new outbreak was first reported in Chengdu on Dec. 7, the price of pork in supermarkets jumped from 20 yuan to 35 yuan per pound (about $3 to $5.30 per pound). Most meat products are sold out, but vegetables are still available in supermarkets, he said.
The Epoch Times spoke with the owner of a supermarket in Xinyuan community in Pidu on Dec. 9. He said that his store is still open and many customers fear that the outbreak will get worse, which could cause many people to start panic-buying. Besides food, supplies such as masks and toilet paper are flying off the shelves.
Another local from Pidu district revealed that the Shaxi Farmers Market in Pixian county has now been closed. This store supplies all the wholesale seafood and vegetable markets in Chengdu. He is worried it might have a big impact throughout the city.
Long Lines for COVID-19 Testing, Stream of Cars Leaving Chengdu
On Dec. 8, nucleic acid testing was carried out in Chengdu, including Chunxi Road—the city’s busiest commercial area.
The video below shows hundreds of people waiting to get tested and a big group of health workers (wearing white protective suits) were deployed in the city.
Another video obtained by The Epoch Times shows many vehicles on a highway, driving out of Chengdu. A netizen commented, “Have they heard any news inside the city? They are all leaving Chengdu.”
In addition, the city’s buses and taxis currently operating in the medium-risk areas must reduce the number of passengers to 50 percent capacity, according to Chengdu Automobile Transportation (Group) Company.
Epoch Times staff Hong Ning and Xiao Lusheng contributed to this report.