China urges families to stockpile food amid Covid surge

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It prompted some alarm and speculation, including that it related to increasing tensions with Taiwan. Related hashtags were viewed more than 18 million times…reports Asian Lite News

Chinese families have been encouraged to stockpile daily necessities, prompting panic buying, amid surging vegetable prices linked to recent extreme weather, fears of supply shortages and an ongoing Covid outbreak, The Guardian reported.

A notice posted on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce late on Monday urged local authorities to stabilise prices and families “to store a certain amount of daily necessities as needed to meet daily life and emergencies”.

It prompted some alarm and speculation, including that it related to increasing tensions with Taiwan. Related hashtags were viewed more than 18 million times, the report said.

“As soon as this news came out, all the old people near me went crazy panic buying in the supermarket,” wrote one user on Weibo.

State media urged calm and Zhu Xiaoliang, a senior commerce ministry official, told broadcaster CCTV “the supply of daily necessities is sufficient everywhere,” but varying explanations were offered for the notice.

Some said the commerce department often releases such warnings in the weeks before national holidays while the People’s Daily said the ministry had issued its instruction earlier this year because of natural disasters, the surge in vegetable prices and recent Covid cases, the report added.

The Economic Daily, a state-backed newspaper, warned residents against having “too much of an overactive imagination” but also said the directive was linked to the outbreak and was to ensure people were prepared in the event of a lockdown.

On Monday, the Chinese mainland has reported 59 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, local media reported citing National Health Commission’s daily report.

Of the new local cases, 27 were reported in Heilongjiang, 10 in Gansu, nine in Hebei, six in Inner Mongolia, three in Ningxia, and one each in Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Shandong and Qinghai, Xinhua News reported.

On Sunday, the mainland witnessed 33 new imported cases, including 12 previously reported asymptomatic carriers, it said.

One new suspected case arriving from outside the mainland was reported in Shanghai and no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Sunday, it added.

A total of 9,637 imported cases had been reported on the mainland by the end of Sunday. Among them, 9,251 had been discharged from hospitals following recovery, and 386 remained hospitalized. No deaths had been reported among the imported cases, according to Xinhua News.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland had reached 97,243 by Sunday, including 869 patients still receiving treatment. Among them, 33 were in severe condition.

A total of 91,738 patients had been discharged from hospitals following recovery on the mainland, and 4,636 had died as a result of the virus.

A total of 24 asymptomatic cases were newly reported, of which 17 were from outside the mainland. There were a total of 398 asymptomatic cases, of which 351 were imported, under medical observation as of Sunday. (ANI)

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