Chinese officials promise groceries for lockdown residents

AP Health

Women wearing masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk against cold strong winds in Beijing, China, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Chinese officials promised steady deliveries of groceries to residents of Xi’an, an ancient capital with 13 million people that is under the strictest lockdown of a major Chinese city since Wuhan was shut early last year at the start of the pandemic.

China’s Commerce Ministry has contacted nearby provinces to help ensure adequate supplies of everyday necessities, a ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

State broadcaster CCTV aired a story Thursday showing building staff assembling free grocery deliveries for the residents of an apartment complex in Xi’an.

The deliveries included a box of 15 eggs, a 2.5-kilogram (5.5-pound) bag of rice and some green vegetables. Residents could also expect either some chicken or pork, it said.

Still, some people complained in comments below the segment shared on Weibo, a social media platform, that they have not received the same deliveries in their communities. Many worried if they will be able to obtain fresh vegetables and meat.

This week, authorities tightened restrictions in Xi’an so that people can no longer leave their homes to buy groceries. Previously, residents were allowed to buy food once every two days. The city is also sealed off, meaning that people cannot leave without special permission.

Xi’an reported 155 new locally transmitted cases on Wednesday, and a total of about 1,000 cases in the latest outbreak.

The numbers pale in comparison to outbreaks elsewhere in the world, but are significant for China, which continues to follow a policy of trying to eradicate the coronavirus. That has resulted in widespread lockdowns to cut the virus’s spread.

China has reported a total of 101,890 cases and 4,636 deaths since the pandemic began.

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