Shanghai is struggling with food shortages when viruses close

BEIJING (AP) – Shanghai residents are struggling to control meat, rice and other foodstuffs that control the coronary virus, which limits most of its 25 million people in their homes, which is frustrating when the government tries to curb the spread of the epidemic.

People in China’s business capital complain that online grocery stores are often sold out. Some received state food parcels with meat and vegetables for several days. But without saying when they will be released, anxiety increases.

Zhang Yu, 33, said her eight-person home ate three meals a day but had reduced noodles at lunch. They received no government supplies.

“It’s not easy to keep going,” said Zhang, who starts shopping online at 7 p.m.

“We read the news (food), but we just can not buy it,” she said. “As soon as you go to the grocery shopping app, it says that the day’s orders are full.

The complaints are a disgrace to the ruling Communist Party in a politically sensitive year when President Xi Jinping is expected to try to break with tradition and give himself a third five-year term as leader.

Shanghai is highlighting the growing human and economic costs of China’s zero-COVID ‘policies aimed at isolating all those infected.

On Thursday, the government announced 23,107 new cases nationwide, all but 1,323 with no symptoms. There were 19,989 in Shanghai, where only 329 had symptoms.

Complaints about food shortages began after Shanghai closed parts of the city on March 28.

Plans called for a four-day closure of neighborhoods while residents were tested. It turned into an indefinite closure across the city after the number of cases increased. Buyers who received little warning took off supermarket shelves.

City officials publicly apologized last week and promised to improve food supplies.

Officials say Shanghai, home to the world’s busiest port and China’s main stock exchange, has plenty of food. But Deputy Mayor Chen Tong acknowledged on Thursday that it was a challenge to bring the “last 100 meters” home.

“Shanghai’s fight against epidemics has reached its most important moment,” Chen told a news conference, according to state media. He said officials “must make every effort to provide living supplies for the city’s 25 million people.”

At the same event, Vice President Meituan, China’s largest food delivery service, blamed the shortage of staff and vehicles, according to a copy released by the company. Secretary-General Mao Fang said Meituan had transported automatic vans and nearly 1,000 extra workers to Shanghai.

Another online grocery store, Dingdong, said it had moved 500 workers in Shanghai from other locations for delivery.

Li Xiaoliang, an employee of a courier company, complained that the government ignored people living in hotels. He said he was sharing a room with two co-workers after positive incidents were found near his rented house.

Li, 30, said they had brought instant noodles but they ran out. Now they eat one meal a day with 40 yuan ($ 6) packed lunches ordered at the front desk, but sometimes the seller does not deliver. On Thursday, Li said he had only water all day.

The local government office “clearly said they did not care about those staying at the hotel and leaving us to find our own way,” Li said. “What we need most now is supplies, food.

After residents of a Shanghai apartment complex stood on their balcony to sing this week in a possible protest, a drone flew over their heads and sent out the message: “Control the soul’s desire for freedom and do not open the window to sing. This behavior carries the risk of the epidemic spreading.

The government says it is trying to reduce the impact of its tactics, but authorities are still enforcing barriers that also block access to the industrial cities of Changchun and Jilin with millions of inhabitants in the northeast.

Although the management of the port of Shanghai says that the operation is normal, the chairwoman of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, Bettina Schoen-Behanzin, said that its member companies estimate that the amount of cargo handled has decreased by 40%.

Some large factories and financial companies let employees sleep at work to continue operations. But Schoen-Behanzin said without a timetable to end the closure, “some workers are no longer volunteering.

Residents of smaller cities have also been temporarily confined to their homes this year as Chinese officials try to contain the epidemic.

In 2020, access to cities with a total of 60 million people was blocked in an unprecedented attempt to control the epidemic. The ruling party organized an extensive supply network to bring in food.

A resident of Shanghai’s Minhang district, who asked to be identified by her last name, Chen, said her five-person home had received food parcels from government officials on March 30 and April 4. They included chicken, eggplant, carrots, broccoli and potatoes.

Vegetables are now available online, but it is difficult to find meat, fish and eggs, said Chen. She went to a “shopping club” in the neighborhood. The minimum order is 3,000 yuan ($ 500), “so you need other people,” she said.

“Everyone is planning to order food, because we can not trust the government to send it to us,” said Chen. “They are not reliable.”

A message from a viewer at an online press conference organized by the city health office challenged officials: “Drop the script! Please tell leaders to buy vegetables on mobile phones locally.

Gregory Gao, a carmaker’s operations specialist who lives alone in downtown Yangpu, said only Meituan was left after food vendors said supplies in the area were closing.

“I can not get anything for two or three days in a row,” said Gao, 29.

Zhang said some of her neighbors had run out of rice.

“The government initially told us that this would last for four days,” she said. “Many were not ready.


AP researchers Chen Si in Shanghai and Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.

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