A temporary vegetable market is set up near a community under closed-off management in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Dec. 29, 2021. (Xinhua/Tao Ming)
Authorities in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, have started delivering free groceries to local residents in lockdown due to the latest COVID-19 resurgence.
Many residents in the megacity, which has a population of 13 million, received free food items provided by the local government on Wednesday. This latest measure is helping residents go through lockdown at home with less anxiety.
The city reported 151 confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of local cases in the latest resurgence to 962 since Dec. 9.
Xi'an imposed a citywide lockdown, effective last Thursday, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
To contain the outbreak more quickly, authorities in Xi'an upgraded control measures starting Monday, ordering all residents to stay indoors and refrain from gathering except when taking nucleic acid tests. All motor vehicles except those used for COVID-19 control and supporting people's livelihoods have been banned from roads.
To ensure the supply of daily necessities, the city began preparing and delivering free essential food items on Tuesday night. A large number of people worked overnight preparing, packaging and delivering vegetables, meat and eggs so that the items could be sent to residents as soon as possible.
With the help of four supermarkets and one farm produce market, the Qujiang New District prepared 130 tonnes of meat, 70 tonnes of eggs and 650 tonnes of vegetables for its 130,000 residents.
"Each household receives 11 types of daily necessities, including meat, eggs and vegetables, which can meet their demands for three days," said Wang Fan from the district's pandemic prevention and control headquarters.
Xincheng District resident Gao Yan was woken by an urgent phone call early Wednesday morning, telling her to go downstairs to collect the free daily necessities.
When Gao, 64, arrived at the entrance to her residential compound, she saw baskets of vegetables outside the entrance.
"According to the standard of 20 yuan (about 3.10 U.S. dollars) per person per day, vegetables are packed into large, medium and small packages to meet residents' consumption needs for three days," said Lyu Hao, head of the Xiyilu subdistrict.
Gao lined up to receive her package, including a 5-kilogram bag of flour, a small bottle of rapeseed oil and 10 kinds of vegetables.
As she lives alone, Gao told the workers that the package was too much for her and offered to share her items with those in need. She was assured that every household would receive sufficient supplies.
"With these necessities, we'll no longer need to panic. We'll just stay at home with greater peace of mind and wait for the outbreak to end," she said.
Gao's reaction highlights the significance behind the city's distribution of free daily necessities.
"I hope residents will calm down and stay indoors over the next three days to win precious time for COVID-19 prevention and control," Lyu said.
At 8 a.m. Wednesday, the city launched another mass nucleic acid testing, with many pandemic control workers continuing to work through the day despite having worked through the night.
"On one hand, we need to ensure that people can get through the home quarantine with fewer worries, and on the other hand, we need to race against the clock to screen for more infections and stamp out the virus as soon as possible," Wang said.