People in Hong Kong Emptied Supermarket Shelves Again After Rumours of a Lockdown

Thought that empty supermarket shelves were a thing of the past? Think again.

An upcoming mass COVID-19 testing plan has got Hong Kong residents rushing to supermarkets to stock up, in fears of another lockdown.

Here’s what happened.

Mass Testing News Trigger Fears of Lockdown

Mass testing for Hong Kong’s residents is scheduled to take place over nine days in the second half of March, where officials will test people three times over those nine days.

The government is still thinking about whether any lockdowns will be done by districts or the entire city. Exemptions for lockdown will still be made for essential services like food and medical treatment.

Despite their leader, Carrie Lam, previously saying that she wasn’t considering a city-wide lockdown, the news of mass testing had residents emptying shelves to prepare for the worst.

Lam Appeals To Public To Stay Calm

On Tuesday (1 March), the leader told the public to not be swayed by rumours and to calm down, assuring that supply of food and goods remained normal.

She also asked the public to stay vigilant and pay attention to the information disseminated by the government.

Despite her comments that there was no need to worry, pharmacies, banks and grocery stores saw long queues city-wide. Streets and shopping malls were abandoned in favour of buying essentials.

Hong Kong’s COVID-19 Situation Accelerates Exponentially

Hong Kong only had about 100 infections at the start of February, but saw 34,466 on Monday (28 February).

As infections climb, deaths are climbing as well, with facilities for storing dead bodies at hospitals and mortuaries at maximum capacity.

The city has reported over 205,000 infections and 744 deaths in total. However, more than 400 of those deaths have been from the past week, which shows you just how quickly the situation is turning dire.

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Dynamic Zero Strategy Increases Fears

Hong Kong adopts a COVID-19 policy of dynamic zero, which tries to stop all outbreaks at any cost.

This strategy increased fears of separation among many families, especially in the wake of the upcoming mass testing and the building of thousands of isolation centres.

The isolation centres would house those infected with mild or no symptoms, as well as those that need to isolate. One example would be the Tsing Yi facility in northwest Hong Kong, which would have 3,900 rooms for these purposes.

Many families have sought to flee the city before the mass testing scheme.

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Featured Image: Yung Chi Wai Derek /