Panic buying in China’s Xi’an City before Covid lockdown

Authorities have ordered the lockdown of some 13 million residents in China’s Xi’an City in Shaanxi province after outbreaks of Covid-19 cases has been recorded in the northwestern city.

Video shows scores of panicked shoppers forming long queues in supermarkets and grocery stores in the city ahead of the December 23 indefinite lockdown. Only one designated person per household will be allowed to leave the home to buy essential goods every two days, officials said.

Checkpoints have been set up in highways entering the city, while flights from its airport have been cancelled. Recreational facilities and non-essential businesses like bars, cinemas, and gyms have also been closed, state media reported.

Health officials said the spike in cases is caused by the Delta variant, but have made no mention of the Omicron strain.

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. The latest flare-up comes as China prepares to host the Winter Olympics on February 2022.