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December 31, 2021

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Xi’an delivers free groceries for residents amid strict lockdown

Authorities in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, have started delivering free groceries to residents amid a lockdown due to the latest COVID-19 resurgence.

Many residents in the megacity, with 13 million people, received free food items provided by the local government on Wednesday. This latest measure is helping residents endure the lockdown.

The city reported 155 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for Wednesday, bringing the total number of local infections to more than 1,100 since the flare-up began on December 9.

Xi’an imposed a citywide lockdown, effective last Thursday, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

To contain the outbreak more quickly, authorities in Xi’an upgraded control measures from Monday, ordering all residents to stay indoors and refrain from gathering except when taking nucleic acid tests. All motor vehicles except those used for COVID-19 control and supporting people’s livelihoods have been banned from roads.

The curbs have curtailed access to daily necessities, with many people unable to go out to shop, leaving them dependent on deliveries.

But the restrictions have caused a staffing crunch at companies involved in ensuring the delivery of supplies and the government was working to resolve the issue, according to an official.

A Xi’an resident surnamed He said she tried to order groceries on the online app of Alibaba-backed supermarket chain Freshippo but could not secure many items, including potatoes and cucumber.

The app posted a message under many items saying: “Delivery staffers are not available,” according to a screenshot provided by He.

To ensure the supply of daily necessities, the city began preparing and delivering free essential food items on Tuesday night. A large number of people worked overnight preparing, packaging and delivering vegetables, meat and eggs so that the items could be sent to residents as soon as possible.

With the help of four supermarkets and one farm produce market, the Qujiang New District prepared 130 tons of meat, 70 tons of eggs and 650 tons of vegetables for its 130,000 residents.

“Each household receives 11 types of daily necessities, including meat, eggs and vegetables, which can meet their needs for three days,” said Wang Fan from the district’s pandemic prevention and control headquarters.

Xincheng District resident Gao Yan was woken by an urgent phone call early on Wednesday morning, telling her to go downstairs to collect the free daily necessities.

When Gao, 64, arrived at the entrance to her residential compound, she saw baskets of vegetables.

“According to the standard of 20 yuan per person per day, vegetables are packed into large, medium and small packages to meet residents’ consumption needs for three days,” said Lu Hao, head of the Xiyilu subdistrict.

Gao received her package, which included a 5-kilogram bag of flour, a small bottle of rapeseed oil and 10 kinds of vegetables. But as she lives alone, she told workers her package was too much and offered to share her items with the needy. She was assured that every household would receive sufficient supplies.


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