* Beijing kicks off first of three rounds of mass testing in
* Mass testing fuels concerns of shortages of food, supplies
* Chinese stock market down on fears Beijing may join
BEIJING, April 25 (Reuters) - Beijing residents snapped up
food and other supplies as the city's biggest district began
mass COVID-19 testing of all residents on Monday, prompting
fears of a Shanghai-style lockdown after dozens of cases in the
capital in recent days.
Authorities in Chaoyang, home to 3.45 million people, late
on Sunday ordered residents and those who work there to be
tested three times this week as Beijing warned the virus had
"stealthily" spread in the city for about a week before being
"I'm preparing for the worst," said a graduate student in
the nearby Haidian district surnamed Zhang, who placed online
orders for dozens of snacks and 10 pounds of apples.
Shoppers in the city crowded stores and online platforms to
stock up on leafy vegetables, fresh meat, instant noodles and
rolls of toilet paper.
In Shanghai, where most of its 25 million residents have
been locked down for weeks, the main food supply bottleneck has
been the lack of enough couriers to make deliveries to homes,
fueling anger among residents.
In Beijing, supermarket chains including Carrefour
and Wumart said they had more than doubled inventories, while
Meituan's grocery-focused e-commerce platform
increased stocks and the number of staffers for sorting and
delivery, according to the state-backed Beijing Daily.
Supermarket chains should ensure that goods were being
replenished in time, said a Beijing official at a news
conference late in the day, adding that the city's reserves of
refined grains and oil could meet the consumption needs of
residents for 30 days.
The operating hours of stores would also be extended, the
Since Friday, Beijing has reported 70 locally transmitted
cases in eight of its 16 districts, with Chaoyang accounting for
46 of the total, said a local health official on Monday.
Even in districts such as Haidian that have yet to report
any cases in the current outbreak, there is a sense of growing
unease over food supply.
AREAS UNDER LOCKDOWN
While the Chinese capital's caseload is small compared with
those globally and the hundreds of thousands in Shanghai,
Chaoyang district told residents to reduce public activities,
although most schools, stores and offices remained open.
Chinese shares tumbled on Monday, with the blue-chip CSI300
index closing down 4.9% at a two-year low, weighed by
worries Beijing was on the verge of joining Shanghai in
The Shanghai Composite Index slumped 5.1%.
Beijing's Chaoyang district is home to many wealthy
residents, most foreign embassies as well as entertainment
venues and corporate headquarters. It has little manufacturing.
"The current outbreak in Beijing is spreading stealthily
from sources that remained unknown yet and is developing
rapidly," a municipality official said on Sunday.
More than a dozen buildings in Chaoyang have been put under
lockdown. For the rest of the district, people were to be tested
on Monday and again on Wednesday and Friday.
On Monday morning, people queued at makeshift testing sites
manned by medical workers in protective suits. Under mass
testing campaigns in China, multiple samples are tested
"I came as the notice suggested, at 6 a.m., for testing just
to make sure that I can get to work on time," said a man in his
30s queuing for a test in his residential compound.
By the early afternoon, movement restrictions in one part of
Chaoyang were tightened, with residents told not to leave the
area at all and not to leave their local compounds for
non-essential reasons, state television reported.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo, Roxanne Liu, Muyu Xu, Zhang Min and
Albee Zhang; Editing by Tony Munroe, Himani Sarkar, Emelia
Sithole-Matarise and Alex Richardson)