Hubei city to lower food prices after community gathering Published: 2020/3/13 6:37:53

Photo: Screenshot of Douyin

Government officials in Xiaogan, a city hard-hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Central China's Hubei Province, vowed to lower the prices for daily living essentials after a gathering was held at a residential community Thursday night over insufficient food supplies. 

A video clip depicting people at a community basketball court went viral on Chinese social media on Thursday. Netizens said the group had allegedly lodged a protest against the community's management office for providing over-priced but low-quality vegetables. 

A statement on the city government's Weibo account Friday morning said city authorities held a meeting Thursday night and pledged to control food prices.  

The statement also said residents at the Haishan residential community gathered at the basketball court out of concerns over the food supply.  

The community is home to 3,689 families (8,012 people), which is under closed-off management. Daily materials could only be purchased and delivered by the community property management office, while personal trade was banned. 

One resident, surnamed Cheng, contacted a store and asked them to come to the community to sell vegetables that had cheaper prices. Cheng was stopped by the property management office and reported to the police. After police officers arrived at the basketball court, more residents began to assemble.  

The statement said the community was back to normal by 8 pm. 

Local authorities increased the number of food stores and reduced prices on essential living needs. Meanwhile, they vowed to subsidize the stores to reduce operating expenses. 

Additionally, the city government established a team responsible for purchasing fresh food from production bases and supply it directly to the residents.

Last month, city officials placed all residential communities on lockdown for 14 days.

Vehicle usage was controlled, and all daily essentials were required to be delivered by street officers. 

Xiaogan sits roughly 70 kilometers north of Wuhan.  

The city also banned residents from leaving their homes and said violators could be detained for a maximum of 10 days.

As of press time, Xiaogan had reported 126 deaths and 3,518 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 3,179 patients recovered. 

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