Precautions taken to avoid spread; supplies stable
A typical Friday afternoon scene in a residential quarter along Shuguang Road in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, usually involves children looking forward to a weekend break while enjoying some outdoor playtime.
But this wasn't your garden variety Friday. That's because the day before, the city reported 103 local COVID-19 cases and 47 asymptomatic cases, bringing the current tally to 673 and 243, respectively, according to the Sichuan Health Commission.
The city started citywide static management at 6 pm on Thursday in the aftermath of the latest COVID-19 outbreak that began on Aug 25, with residents required to stay home and unnecessary business activity suspended. Households under lockdown were permitted to send one member producing a negative nucleic acid result within 24 hours to go out for two hours each day to buy daily supplies, according to epidemic control officials.
Li Linyuan, a middle-aged executive at a Sino-Japanese joint venture's finance department in Chengdu, had to work at home in line with the regulations.
She got up early on Friday morning to buy pork and vegetables at a local supermarket, saying: "I was happy not to have joined the panic buying yesterday. Food in the supermarket is fresh and abundant."
Many customers having lined up for long periods during the panic buying said they regretted having joined in the chaotic shopping, she added.
Supermarkets such as Hong Qi Chain, Carrefour and Hema Fresh were open, allowing residents to buy fresh vegetables and meat on Friday.
Several customers surrounded a fresh meat counter in a Carrefour supermarket near a Chengdu Metro station on Friday morning, pondering what to buy as there was a great variety of fresh meat.
Chen Yufeng, a middle-aged guard at the entrance to the supermarket, said it opened at 8 am and would close at 10 pm as usual.
Zhang Jinquan, head of the Chengdu municipal bureau of commerce, said the city's 31 key suppliers such as Hong Qi Chain have increased supplies of meat, vegetables, eggs and milk and other daily necessities by two or three times their usual daily volume, and Chengdu residents need not rush to buy and hoard.
The Chengdu Metro, buses, cabs and express delivery companies were operating normally on Friday. As there were much fewer people in the streets, buses, cabbies and garbage trucks were conspicuous and the streets looked much wider, said Tong Kaiquan, a 26-year-old courier with SF Express.
Zhou Hong, head of the ultrasound department of the Third People's Hospital of Chengdu, went to his office at 8 am on Friday and found much fewer patients waiting for him.
Patients with negative nucleic acid results within 24 hours could enter the hospital, he said.
Residents needing medical treatment could enter and leave their residential quarters with the consent of the community where they live, according to epidemic control regulations.
Beginning on Thursday evening, Chengdu offered nucleic acid tests in individual residential quarters instead of streets to avoid possible cross-infection, which can happen when crowds gather.
Two air membrane cabin laboratories in Chengdu were put into use on Friday with a daily nucleic acid testing capacity of 100,000 samples.
After Chengdu announced it would offer nucleic acid testing to all residents on Thursday, 400 employees from organs of the Communist Party of China and government offices in Jintang county, Chengdu, worked in communities to facilitate testing in the county.
For the first time, Chengdu decided on Thursday to convert all its employees in institutions of the Communist Party of China and government offices to community or village volunteers to participate in community contagion prevention.