Panic in Shanghai Ikea as authorities shut store in snap Covid lockdown

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Chaotic scenes were witnessed in an Ikea store in Shanghai on Saturday after officials announced a snap lockdown inside the complex, leading some shoppers to flee outside in a bid to escape quarantine.

The lockdown was imposed after officials said they received information about a close contact of a Covid patient who had visited the store.

Viral videos on social media showed shoppers rushing to leave the store, pushing security guards out of the way.

According to Shanghai’s health authorities, the store had been placed under “temporary control measures” after a close contact of a six-year-old boy with an asymptomatic Covid infection visited it, reported Bloomberg.

Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the Shanghai Health Commission, said at a press briefing on Sunday that all those who were present at the Ikea and other affected areas would need to quarantine for two days and then undergo five days of health surveillance.

Officials did not, however, disclose when the close contact of the Covid patient had visited the Ikea store.

The company said in a statement that, in accordance with the epidemic prevention guidelines, the store would remain closed on Sunday and Monday.

Nearly 400 close contacts of the boy had been identified till Sunday, reported Shanghai Daily.

An additional 80,000 people had been ordered to undergo Covid tests.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has followed a strict zero-covid policy which includes snap lockdowns and mass testing.

Earlier this year, Shanghai residents were in lockdown for weeks as the Omicron variant fuelled a surge in Covid cases in China’s financial hub.

Fears of another gruelling lockdown caused panic at the Ikea store on Saturday after an announcement was made asking officials to immediately close down the store and stop people from entering or leaving.

Social media videos showed overpowering crowds pushing past security to leave the premises and escape stringent quarantine measures.

It is not yet clear how many shoppers managed to leave the premises before the doors closed, reported Global News.

On Monday, 2,312 new infections were reported across China, marking the first time in more than three months since cases topped the 2,000 mark for three consecutive days in the country.