Video Shows Shanghai Residents Fight Over Groceries Ahead of COVID Lockdown

An outbreak of the highly contagious Omicron variant has forced China's financial hub into a massive lockdown, prompting panic among Shanghai residents to stock up on supplies.

As Shanghai prepares to go into its first citywide lockdown since COVID-19 began, a video circulating online shows residents fighting one another for food and supplies in a store.

Shanghai has avoided going on lockdown until now, managing smaller outbreaks with smaller lockdowns and thorough testing. China as a whole has worked toward its zero-COVID policy and government officials stated that there were no recorded COVID deaths from January 2021 until March 19 of this year.

However, as Omicron spreads, many cities in China are facing intense lockdowns and surging cases. Hong Kong has reported more than 4,600 COVID-19 related deaths in the last three months, and the city has struggled to keep up with the mounting bodies.

The video, shared on Twitter by Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist, shows empty shelves in a grocery store as crowds of people fight for what is left in the aisles.

The video then jumps to an incident in which two people begin brawling over groceries, and again to a crowd of people all fighting over food and supplies.

Ding reshared the video and wrote, "Local residents in Shanghai seen fighting over groceries as half of its 26 million residents are in lockdown, and other half entering lockdown soon."

Feigl-Ding also wrote that the narrator of the video "cusses & complains there's nothing even left to fight over" and that the "locals are notoriously cutthroat."

The city reported 329 new domestic cases on Tuesday, according to China CDC, and according to the BBC, Shanghai has seen an increase of 20,000 new cases since March 1 fueled by the Omicron variant.

Shanghai has been split in two to accommodate the lockdown. Residents living in the eastern half of the city were put on a five-day lockdown that started on Monday, and the western half of the city was meant to start its lockdown on Friday. However, Reuters reported that Shanghai authorities began placing some areas of the western district on lockdown two days early.

Still, with nearly 88 percent of its population fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, China continues to stand by its zero-COVID policy approach.

"China has seen many sporadic cases, or even clusters, but the rising momentum is not exponential, which is exactly because we have taken a series of strong interventional measures to curb the momentum," said Liang Wannian, head of China's National Health Commission COVID-19 response expert panel, according to the South China Morning Post.

Newsweek reached out to the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China for additional comment.

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A video online shows Shanghai residents fighting over groceries ahead of a massive citywide lockdown to battle the current COVID-19 case surge in Shanghai, China. In this photo, a worker wearing protective gear walks next to barriers that separate from the street a neighborhood in lockdown as a measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Jing'an district in Shanghai on March 30, 2022. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images