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buying panic

What was all the panic buying about in Beijing yesterday?

Did you notice that shops and supermarkets were a little busier than usual yesterday afternoon in Beijing? Did you see people heading to the check-outs with piles of food and other essentials? It was a false alarm. Rumors started circulating online that Beijing would enter a “silent period” (a less scary sounding version of lockdown?) for three…

Did you notice that supermarkets and shops were busier yesterday afternoon in Beijing than usual? Did you notice people bringing large quantities of food to the check-outs?

It was a false alarm.

Rumors circulated online claiming that Beijing would enter an “inaudible period”. (A less frightening version of lockdown? For three days. They went to the shops and bought stockpiled just as they did in other capitals.

It later emerged that there was no plans to implement a “silent period.” According to SINA News, police identified a 38 year old woman as having posted the following online at around 1pm on May 12:

“This afternoon at the Press Conference (on COVID-19 Epidemic Control), they will announce a ‘silent period’ for Beijing over the next three days. All waimai and other delivery services in the city will be temporarily halted. “Everyone should stock up on supplies the next three days.” The Tongzhou district Public Security Bureau investigated the source of the rumor, and indicted the woman.

The 332nd Press Conference on COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control by the Beijing Information Office took place at around 5pm on May 12 after the rumor had started circulating. It was announced at the press conference that waimai and other delivery services would continue in Beijing, and that the city would not be locked down, nor would it enter a 3-day “silent period.”

On Weibo, some Beijing residents were pictured listening to the Press Conference on their phones as they were stocking up on supplies.

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Beijing residents can be seen shopping while listening for news from the Press Conference. Image via Weibo/@Gu Da Xiao Jie

On the Press Conference live stream, one commenter joked that they were about to pay at the supermarket check-out desk, and that if no l

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