Stringent measures to stem outbreaks are common in China, which still maintains a policy of stamping out every COVID-19 case long after many other countries have opted to try to live with the virus. But the lockdown imposed Dec. 23 in Xi’an is one of the harshest in the country since a shutdown in 2020 in and around Wuhan, after the coronavirus was first detected there.
According to AP, residents of the Chinese city of Xi’an are straining under a strict coronavirus lockdown, with some complaining of difficulties finding food, despite assurances from authorities that they are able to provide necessities for the 13 million people largely confined to their homes.
The Chinese have largely complied with the tough measures throughout the pandemic, but complaints have cropped up over tough policies, despite the risk of retaliation from Communist authorities. The Xi’an lockdown, however, comes at a particularly sensitive time, as China prepares to hold the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open Feb. 4, and therefore is under especially intense pressure to contain this outbreak.
“Can’t leave the building, and it’s getting more and more difficult to buy food online,” said one resident of Xi’an, who posted on the social media platform Weibo under the name Mu Qingyuani Sayno. The post was from a verified account, but the person did not respond to a request for further comment.
The lockdown in Xi’an originally allowed people to leave the house every two days to shop for basic goods, but it has since been tightened, though the rules vary according to the severity of the outbreak in each district. Some people are not allowed to go out at all and must have goods delivered to them. People can only leave the city with special permission.
In recent days, people in Xi’an could be seen shopping at pop-up markets, served by workers in head-to-toe white protective suits. Community volunteers also visited people’s homes to ask what they needed.
Yet the strain is beginning to show, with residents increasingly complaining on Weibo of being unable to source necessities. In one widely shared video, guards could be seen attacking a man who had tried to deliver steamed buns to family members. The guards later apologized to the man and were each fined 200 yuan ($31), according to a Xi’an police statement posted on Weibo.