Grocery delivery assured in Xi’an to meet local demand



02:44

As Xi’an in northwest China entered its 15th day of tight management, the city, home to 13 million people, still struggles to get groceries delivered to residents, often because the last 100 meters of distribution prove to be a challenge. Local authorities are trying to improve the situation.

A city-wide proximity management protocol came into effect on December 23, limiting outdoor purchases of basic necessities to one person per household every two days. Local authorities then upgraded the system on December 27, banning residents from leaving their homes except when going for nucleic acid tests.

The new measure was imposed after the COVID-19 situation showed no signs of abating, increasing by more than 150 cases per day for two consecutive days instead.

“The number of COVID-19 cases is expected to continue for some time, and there will be risks of sporadic outbreaks,” local officials said at a press conference on Dec. 27, adding that they had taken immediate action to curb sporadic epidemics.

Officials said the improved measures were aimed at reducing potential infection risks as soon as possible with the support of residents.

The stricter management has led residents of Xi’an to complain on various Chinese social media platforms, and one of the issues they highlight is the lack of access to groceries.

“Before the closed management took effect on December 23, the local government asked us not to stockpile food; we did. However, after the introduction of more stringent measures on December 27, residents have gradually seen their food supply run out, “said one resident. named He Qizhen.

Under tighter management, some said they were missing a lot of hot pot. Others have said they’ve stocked up on snacks like chips and cookies, but really have no idea what they’ll end up eating if the situation continues.

Workers in a district of the city of Xi’an, in the Chinese province of Shaanxi (northwest), January 5, 2022. / CFP

Workers in a district of the city of Xi’an, in the Chinese province of Shaanxi (northwest), January 5, 2022. / CFP

A video showing a group of epidemic prevention officers attacking a resident for going out and buying steamed buns has gone viral on social media. Local police said the two workers were arrested on Saturday. Each worker was fined 200 yuan ($ 30) and detained for seven days.

Local media reports have shown that the grocery shortages are due to delivery issues, not supply. Some supermarkets have been closed due to epidemic prevention and control measures. It was also difficult to shop for groceries in the “last 100 meters” and directly into the hands of the residents.

We had difficulty receiving our groceries purchased online as many of them cannot be distributed to communities, especially those with confirmed cases of COVID-19, He said, adding that not all communities had not organized volunteers to help residents collect their orders.

There are no volunteers in my community, but luckily I was able to go out at certain times to pick up my orders at the community entrance, he said.

In response, Xi’an authorities coordinated city-wide resources, prioritizing vegetable transport channels and working to streamline the logistics of deliveries throughout the city.

On the last day of 2021, Yang Ying received a grocery bag filled with potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes allocated by the local government. Yang felt relieved because she feared her family would not have food for 2022.

“This is the best New Year’s gift I have ever received,” Yang said.

According to local media reports, once residents place an order, whether it is vegetables, fruit, oil, rice or noodles, it can be delivered directly to the community.

“Every day, we decide to provide a fixed meal to the members of the closed community according to the stocks in the market, including the number of products purchased from the market, on the same day,” said Ning Yong, deputy general manager of Mihe Supply Chain Management. Co., Ltd.

“There is only vegetable packaging, vegetables combined with meat and vegetables, fruit and meat all in one,” Ning said.

Nucleic acid test in a residential area of ​​Xi’an city, northwest China’s Shaanxi province, January 4, 2022. / CFP

Nucleic acid test in a residential area of ​​Xi’an city, northwest China’s Shaanxi province, January 4, 2022. / CFP

To help rationalize distribution, certain districts of the city have launched calls for volunteers. People from all walks of life responded to help sort and package the vegetables.

Li Shuyi, who works for a local elementary school, is among them.

“What I’m doing is sorting vegetables; today is the second day that I’m here to help,” Li said. “I came because I want to do my part for the community, and hopefully we can see the other end of that soon. “

Jiao Panpan, project manager for Jinshuiwan Residential Community in Qujiang New District, Xi’an, said he received 400 grocery packages, which were delivered to the elderly and residents with reduced mobility.

As she spoke, 340 more packages had just arrived and all the volunteers and staff were working tirelessly to pack and have them delivered.

Nowadays, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the ancient city has declined as the spread of the virus has been effectively curbed, city officials said on Wednesday. Outside of the city’s quarantine zones and cordoned off areas, the number of cases has been “essentially wiped out,” they said.

“Come on, Xi’an! May you resume normal production and life as soon as possible,” he said.

Since the beginning of December, more than 1,800 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Xi’an. It is the worst epidemic China has seen in months. There are sporadic clusters in other parts of the country, such as Henan Province in central China and Zhejiang Province in east China.

(CGTN’s Yao Yao contributed to the story.)


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