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Some residents under quarantine in the Chinese city of Xi’an have resorted to bartering supplies in recent days, as worries of food shortages continue, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Posts on social media show residents swapping supplies and even tech gadgets in exchange for food, the report said.


In the wake of a latest Covid-19 resurgence, about 13 million have been confined to their homes since December 23, 2021, and presently cannot leave to buy food.

In recent days many have taken to social media with numerous complaints.

Authorities have been providing free food to households, but some have said their supplies are running low or that they had yet to receive aid.

Videos and photos on social media site Weibo showed people exchanging cigarettes for cabbage, dishwashing liquid for apples, and sanitary pads for a small pile of vegetables, the report said.

One video showed a resident appearing to trade his Nintendo Switch console for a packet of instant noodles and two steamed buns.
“Helpless citizens have arrived at the era of bartering – potatoes are exchanged for cotton swabs,” one Weibo user said, while another described it as a “return to primitive society”.

Xi’an is at the epicentre of China’s current Covid outbreak, and local authorities have enacted drastic measures which have attracted significant criticism online.

On Tuesday, authorities moved to put a second city into full lockdown after the detection of three asymptomatic cases.

Around 1.1 million residents in Yuzhou, a city located 500 km away from Xi’an, will now have to stay in their homes.

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