A special administrative region of China, Hong Kong reported a record of 614 coronavirus cases on Monday, February 7, the most number recorded for the territory that is employing a zero-COVID strategy.
China remains to be Hong Kong's most important source of food supplies and fresh produce. Consumers have already seen a shortage of foreign-imported goods and premium seafood due to stringent restrictions.
The government tried to assuage worries of shortage of food from the mainland, and despite several drivers being forced to isolate for testing positive for the coronavirus, overall fresh food supplies "remained stable."
In Tin Shui Wai, a satellite town in the northwestern New Territories of Hong Kong, vendors warned that there would be no vegetables in coming days, prompting customers to buy produce in bulk.
"Of course, you have to buy. There will be no vegetables from tomorrow. The trucks can't come here, so the vegetables are very, very pricey," one of the residents said. (Related: Coronavirus infections leap higher in Hong Kong.)
A vegetable vendor said that the disruptions also saw supply drop by 30 percent, including products such as Chinese flowering cabbage. He also noted that hundreds of kilograms of vegetables that were supposed to arrive on Tuesday, February 8, may not arrive as it is not certain whether or not anyone can cross the border to China.
"I still don't know if they can cross the border. If there is none, the prices will further increase or we have nothing to sell," he said.
In supermarkets, shelves that used to display vegetables, tissues, and cup noodles were bare as customers continue to stock up over concerns that these products will be harder to find in the next few days.
The sharp rise in COVID cases was attributed to last week's Lunar New Year festivities, but the overall outbreak began late last year.
Government officials said that they remained optimistic about Hong Kong's tracing and containment strategies, which included snap lockdowns of buildings and mandatory testing and quarantines. They also urged people to minimize socializing and stay at home instead.
Edwin Tsui, controller of Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection, said: "If you continue with such gatherings the epidemic will not stop, but if we all work together and minimize social gatherings hopefully from today we can actually suppress the spread of the disease."
Many public places in the city have already shut down, including entertainment and public venues. Even open spaces such as playgrounds and beaches have been closed or told to suspend operations. Restaurants have been barred from serving at 6 p.m. while gatherings of more than four people have been banned.
Citizens have been worried about the outbreak and have feared even further restrictions. A 26-year-old Hong Kong resident from the North Point of the city said that the lockdowns have affected a lot of aspects of his life. The increased restrictions and building lockdowns, as well as the forced isolations despite not having symptoms, made him worried every time he is going out. (Related: Hong Kong experiencing a record jump in coronavirus cases.)
"I have taken the vaccine [including booster shots], but there is no exception for that. These measures and controls affect my mental health a lot, and I wish to leave Hong Kong one day if I get the opportunity. I have been trying to stay strong, as I know life has to go on," he shared.
Hong Kong has so far maintained one of the world's best COVID responses in terms of keeping its numbers low. However, it has also caused widespread frustration among the population due to its frequently changing and sometimes illogical measures.
Watch the video below to learn more about China's zero-COVID policy.
This video is from the Vigilent Citizen channel on Brighteon.com.
Read more news related to the coronavirus pandemic at Pandemic.news.