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CE calls for calm as residents empty shelves amid lockdown fears

28 February 2022

By The SUN 

Supermarket shelves were wiped out in a matter of hours

Chief Executive Carrie Lam called for calm Monday, as hordes of people rushed to supermarkets across the city amid reports the government is planning to impose a citywide lockdown to control the surge in Covid-19 infections.

The fears were further stoked by a record 34,466  coronavirus cases being recorded in Hong Kong for the day, along with 124 deaths.

Speaking at the Shenzhen Bay Port where she welcomed a top Covid strategy expert from the Mainland, Mrs Lam said the government is still assessing whether people should be stopped from leaving their homes during the planned universal testing of residents in March.


She had said earlier that all of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents will be made to undergo three tests, spaced out over several days.

Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Sophia Chan told reporters that a mass lockdown has not been ruled out to ensure the effectiveness of the mass testing.

Chan said that the flow of people might have to be reduced and that people “should not go out, or they should stay at home as far as possible.”


Her statement was repeated by Dr Albert Au of the Centre for Health Protection at a subsequent press briefing. He said the government was looking at a lockdown as a way of ensuring people stay at home until all three tests are completed.

People flocked to supermarkets to stock up amid reports of an impending lockdown

Following this announcement, many residents went on a buying frenzy, leaving many supermarket shelves empty. First to be snapped up were fresh produce and frozen food, which had been difficult to come by in recent days because of cross-border infections among drivers who used to transport them into Hong Kong from the mainland.

While not denying that a lockdown option was being considered, the CE said the government realized many people would still have to go out to provide essential services.

She also said the government is changing its strategy on conducting the mass testing. Instead of calling up people for tests based on their year of birth, they may now have to go for tests along with all members of their household.


In several interviews previously, Mrs Lam had been adamant in saying there would be no citywide lockdown during the mass testing.

However, a senior official of China’s National Health Commission, Li Dachuan, said the planned universal testing would be more effective if it was accompanied by a lockdown.

Li also said that 9,000 testing staff from the mainland would come to Hong Kong to help collect specimens during the exercise.



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