Online rumors of an imminent lockdown again sparked panic buying in Beijing. However, the Chinese regime’s denial of the information did not affect residents’ panic.

On Thursday, May 12, screenshots of a conversation swarmed the internet. A person claimed that their friend, who attended the Beijing Municipal Government meeting, said the capital would enter “static management.” Under this type of control, residents are generally barred from leaving their homes.

Another texted that their friend attended an internal meeting with the Beijing CDC. The friend learned that people would be ordered to stay at home on the following day (May 13). The person supposed that the lockdown would be announced by the afternoon. The closure could initially take effect until May 20.

At a press conference that day, the spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Government, Xu Hejian, dismissed the information. He told residents not to believe in unverified hearsay, shop rationally, and not be nervous. Xu also gave assurance that the capital has enough supplies and takeaways, and express deliveries are constant.

Still, on Friday, May 13, the YouTube account Zaiye Shuo uploaded a video of Beijingers crammed into supermarkets, urgently picking up products. People were even lining up outside stores waiting for their turn to shop. Empty shelves were also recorded.

Refuting an upcoming lockdown, Beijing Municipal Government spokesman Xu said that the capital would utilize the weekend, from May 13, to carry out three rounds of mass testing for 12 districts.

Even without an official announcement of a citywide closure, the capital looked like it was under restrictions in the video.

There are multiple scenes of workers sealing up buildings and sealed grocery stores, and a vacant subway station was also featured. A person driving on an almost deserted street said it was the first time the road was so empty at 10 p.m.

Regarding businesses in Beijing, resident Ding told Chinese media Xin Tang Ren that many usually bustling stores were all closed. Ding said they were very prosperous in past years but are now either re-rented or empty.

Beijing has yet to face lockdowns, as has Shanghai. However, Shinohara, an expatriate in the IT industry, said that their family is separated. Because of China’s strict curbs on traveling, family members are stuck and cannot return to the city.

On Friday, Beijing reported 42 new locally transmitted cases as of Thursday. In addition, an imported case from overseas was also detected.

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