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Rumours of a lockdown in China’s capital Beijing spark panic buying, police investigation


China is digging in its heels on a zero-Covid strategy to stamp out clusters as they emerge, hitting hundreds of areas across Beijing with some form of restrictions, including hard lockdowns.

Residents rushed to supermarkets on Thursday to stock up on groceries as rumours spread that stay-at-home orders would soon be announced. Dining out has already been halted and many tourist attractions closed.

A man drives his bike inside a fenced residential area under a Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown in Beijing on May 11, 2022. Photo: Noel Celis/AFP

But instead of a lockdown, officials announced a three-day mass testing drive for most of the city Thursday and told residents there was no need to panic-buy food.

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