What happened when one of the Chinese cities closed after the outbreak of the new Covid virus

Volunteers in protective suits disinfect a residential area in Tonghua, China on January 24, 2021.

Optical China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING – A small Chinese city rush to control the Coronavirus has left some residents without food and some officials without jobs.

The fallout shows how far local Chinese authorities will go to try to contain the coronavirus. While new cases in China so far this year are still much lower than those in other countries, strict prevention measures could quickly cause greater disruptions in work and daily life.

After a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in mid-January, Tonghua, about a 10-hour drive northeast of Beijing, announced on Wednesday that no one could leave the city. The authorities added that all residential complexes were basically closed.

People are stuck at home with little time to store food and have switched to smartphone-based delivery apps, but a lot more They complained online that they could not get their orders, According to a blog post on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.

State media said that the Discipline and Inspection Committee of the local Communist Party sacked three officials on Saturday for their poor performance in monitoring the epidemiological situation. The report said that 11 other officials received severe warnings.

Then, Tonghua City on Sunday apologized to its nearly 500,000 residents for the „inappropriate“ delivery of daily necessities and public inconvenience. The city added that there is an acute shortage of workers but adequate food.

More than 11,000 people left mostly angry comments on a national government media post about an apology on Weibo. Some users described how they or their neighbors were hungry and did not receive their requests for three or four days.

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Several user reviews noted the inability to place orders on Eleme, a food delivery app powered by Alibaba. The company did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

NASDAQ-listed Dada, the grocery delivery company that has seen an increase in Growth during lockdowns in the initial coronavirus outbreak last yearNeither app, he said, works in Tonghua.

Covid-19 first appeared in late 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Chinese authorities locked down more than half of the country in February 2020, and the outbreak stopped domestically within several weeks. Meanwhile, the virus has accelerated its spread abroad in a global pandemic.

In the past two months, New locally transmitted cases have appeared in China Amidst cold winter weather and the continuous flow of visitors from outside. The northeastern Jilin Province, where Tonghua City is located, has become the third worst-hit area, with 273 new confirmed cases of coronavirus for the month of January alone.

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