Panicked shoppers at an Ikea in China rushed for the exits and pushed their way through throngs of security guards Saturday when it was announced that a flash COVID-19 lockdown was about to commence.
According to CNN News, city health officials in Shanghai ordered the Ikea closed after a close contact of a coronavirus case was traced to the store.
One video taken inside the store showed a chaotic scene as desperate shoppers crammed through an exit, trying to avoid being trapped inside.
— 方舟子 (@fangshimin) August 14, 2022
Another video showed a half-dozen uniformed men trying to hold a set of doors closed, before a group behind the doors forced them open and ran past the guards.
Yesterday, an abnormal health code case was presented at an IKEA in Shanghai, & the entire mall was suddenly blocked🥶
— Donna Wong💛🖤 (@DonnaWongHK) August 14, 2022
Shanghai Health Commission deputy director Zhao Dandan told BBC News the sudden shutdown was ordered after a close contact of COVID-positive child visited the store.
The commission said that close contacts would be placed in “two-day closed-loop management and five-day health monitoring” at the store in the city’s Xuhui District, as per Shanghai’s epidemic prevention and control regulations.
A “closed loop” system often requires people affected to work, eat and sleep in that location or at a nearby quarantine facility, such as a hotel.
It was not reported how many people ended up not being able to leave the Ikea store Saturday.
Shanghai Daily reported Sunday that nearly 400 close contacts of the six-year-old boy had been identified, and an additional 80,000 people were ordered to undergo PCR testing as a result of contact tracing.
Strict lockdowns remain a contentious topic in Shanghai. Widespread anger occurred earlier this year among many of the city’s 25 million residents when the government imposed a two month quarantine for the entire city.
China has a rigid zero-COVID policy, relying on mass testing and extensive quarantines to squash potential outbreaks as they appear.
In May, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that as the virus continues to evolve to become more transmissible, China’s zero-COVID policy is not a viable long-term solution.
“When we talk about the zero-COVID strategy, we don’t think it’s sustainable considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future,” he said at the time, according to Bloomberg.
To date, China — a country with a population of more than 1.4 billion — has recorded fewer than one million cases of COVID, according to Our World in Data.
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