Vegetable shortage adds to Hong Kong’s COVID woes

Supplies of vegetables were running low in Hong Kong on Tuesday, with shoppers scrambling to buy whatever they could find, as the government blamed a resurgence of COVID-19 for a drop in deliveries of fresh produce from the mainland, APA reports citing Reuters.

Leader Carrie Lam was due to announce further COVID restrictions later in the day after the city reported a record of more than 600 new cases on Monday. Broadcaster TVB said there were at least 380 confirmed infections on Tuesday with 400 preliminary positive tests.

Addressing a weekly news briefing, Lam said vegetable deliveries from across the border were down as a result of truck drivers testing positive for the virus, but she did not offer any specific solutions to solve the shortage.

Shelves stocking vegetables were bare across many supermarkets in the city while crowds surged into fresh markets to snap up the limited produce available. Other food remained available.

At a market in the city’s downtown Wan Chai market on Tuesday morning, a staff member from Qiandama vegetable store, shouted to crowds not to enter.

“No more veggies inside…It’s like the battlefield,” she said as people tried to charge in.

Some vegetable and fruit stalls selling mainland Chinese produce were shuttered while others were selling produce at double their usual prices.

For now, Lam said, the best option was to adhere to the “dynamic zero” strategy employed by mainland China to suppress all coronavirus outbreaks as soon as possible.

The official Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, had encouraged Hong Kong to follow China’s approach to containing the virus in an editorial on Monday.

“We should contain the spread of the virus as much and as fast as possible,” Lam said.

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