As the city government ordered the construction of COVID-19 quarantine centers and field hospitals to be completed more quickly, residents of some areas of China’s capital were emptying store shelves and flooding delivery apps on Friday.
Demand for food and other supplies has increased, something the city has not experienced in months, due to uncertainty and sporadic, unsubstantiated claims of lockdowns in at least some Beijing districts.
Market shelves in the city’s northern suburbs were empty due to unusually high numbers of shoppers, but in the 21 million-person center of the city, supplies were still plenty.
With 32,695 cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday, daily issues nationwide are reaching records.
One thousand eight hundred sixty of them—the bulk of whom lacked symptoms—were in Beijing.
Field hospitals and improvised quarantine centers that were rapidly set up in gymnasiums, exhibition halls, and other big, open indoor areas have a reputation for being overcrowded, unhygienic, running low on food supplies, and having lights that are on constantly.
Most of the city’s citizens have already been told to stay inside their complexes, some of which are being fenced in.
Workers stationed at the entrances in white hazmat suits stop illegal visitors and verify that occupants have a current, negative COVID-19 test result on their smartphone health apps before allowing them in.
Students in lower grades have been sent to online classes after many university campuses were shut down.
Beijing’s grocery delivery services have hit capacity in some cases.
On Friday, some customers could not reserve same-day delivery slots for food and supplies from well-known online grocery services like Alibaba’s Freshippo and Meituan Maicai due to a surge in demand and a labor shortage.
Chinese users online said that some delivery people couldn’t work because their premises were secured.
There was no way to confirm the reports.