While COVID-19 restrictions have gradually become more relaxed over the past few months, some countries have still kept up with their tight and strict measures towards combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
And one of these countries is China, which announced a citywide lockdown in Shanghai a few months ago in the spring of this year after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
As a result, 25 million residents in the city were confined to the premises of their homes for two months.
And it seems like something similar has happened in the same city recently, with an IKEA store in the Xuhui district being forced to carry out a lockdown on Saturday (13 August) after it was discovered that a customer had been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
After the news broke out in the evening, many desperate shoppers attempted to flee from the building to escape the quarantine, and the chaos was soon uploaded on social media for all to see.
COVID-19 Close Contact Visiting IKEA Store Resulted in 2-Day Quarantine for Everyone
After the “lockdown” at the store was carried out, local health authorities announced that “temporary control measures” had been implemented at the store.
The authorities also shared that an individual who had been in close contact with an asymptomatic six-year-old boy who ended up testing positive for COVID-19 recently visited the store in Xuhui, one of the popular and upscale districts in Shanghai.
However, they did not specify when the customer visited the store.
Mr Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission, added during a briefing yesterday (14 August) that individuals in the IKEA store, as well as those located in other affected areas, will have to undergo quarantine for two days.
Thereafter, they will also be required to do five days of health surveillance.
Customers Tried to Flee From IKEA After Lockdown Was Announced
Despite lockdowns being a common affair for most Chinese, many shoppers still tried their best to leave the store even after it was announced that they were not allowed to.
The chaos and panic that ensued within the store was also filmed and uploaded onto social media sites like Weibo, with many shoppers starting to react hurriedly after hearing a storewide announcement asking for the store to be shut down immediately.
Even though the announcement clearly said that shoppers should not leave or enter the building, large groups of screaming patrons still tried to squeeze through the doors and leave the store.
A video showed dozens of people trying to push a door open even when several security guards, police officers and healthcare workers dressed in personal protective equipment were trying to shut the door.
Ultimately, most of the shoppers pushing against the door were able to escape from being quarantined despite the officers’ best efforts to stop them from doing so.
Other videos also showed large groups of people trying to exit the store via other exits, while some videos also showed crowds outside the stores at night.
As for those who were unable to leave the store before it was locked down, they were kept inside the building from 8pm until sometime past midnight.
Based on a woman who shared her experience on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, these shoppers were then taken to quarantine facilities to carry out their quarantine.
When asked about the lockdown, an IKEA representative only responded by saying that the store in Xuhui has been closed based on instructions given by the health authorities, and that the closure is linked to COVID-19.
Not long ago, Shanghai’s residents just underwent a two-month-long lockdown from April to May this year.
The lockdown was announced after Shanghai recorded China’s largest COVID-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic, leaving residents with no choice but to stay at home.
As a result of the lengthy lockdown period, a large number of residents ended up not having enough food to eat.
Apart from that, the lockdowns have also proved to be detrimental both socially and economically.
However, Chinese President Xi Jinping has still continued to insist that China work towards its COVID-zero goal to eradicate the virus completely.
Current COVID-19 Situation in China
Beyond the recent snap lockdown at the IKEA store, other places have also faced such lockdowns where individuals are given extremely short notice before being disallowed to enter or leave buildings or urban districts.
Understandably, this has resulted in much worry and panic across China as citizens try their best to avoid being caught in the lockdowns.
In other cities such as Shenzhen and Chengdu, as well as the Hainan province, individuals have been spotted doing everything they can to escape lockdowns right before they were imposed.
In particular, people have tried everything from scaling fences, sprinting down beaches and rushing right out of various office towers to ensure that they are “free”.
As for the number of COVID-19 cases in China, 2,312 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Monday (15 August) across the country.
This marks the first time in over three months that the daily cases exceeded 2,000 for three days in a row.
Apart from the major cities, other regions such as resort areas have also been hit hard by the recent outbreak within the country.
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