Chaos unfolded at an Ikea store in Shanghai over the weekend after local authorities attempted to implement a surprise lockdown with shoppers still inside due to potential COVID-19 exposure.
Videos shared online by writer Fang Shimin and others showed Ikea shoppers scrambling to escape the store on Saturday before authorities could shut the doors.
The rush to exit occurred after an announcement at the Ikea store revealed authorities would close the store and not allow anyone to enter or leave.
At one point, a large group of shoppers physically forced their way past officers who had been trying to lock them inside.
Those who were unable to escape were stuck inside for more than four hours before they were transferred to nearby hotels for quarantine, Bloomberg reported, citing an eyewitness’s description on Chinese social media.
State health officials in Shanghai later confirmed that they had implemented “temporary control measures” at the Ikea store and some surrounding areas. The lockdown followed after authorities learned that someone who shopped at the Ikea store was exposed to a six-year-old with an asymptomatic COVID-19 case.
The shoppers stuck inside will be forced to quarantine onsite for two days and then undergo five days of health monitoring, said Zhao Dandan, deputy director of Shanghai Health Commission, according to Bloomberg.
The Ikea location in Shanghai was closed through Monday and was expected to reopen on Tuesday, the company said in a statement. The Post has reached out to Ikea for further comment.
China has enacted controversial “zero COVID” measures in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Residents of Shanghai and other cities have dealt with sporadic lockdowns for months. At one point earlier this year, Shanghai was under lockdown for two months, with local dwellers unable to leave their homes.
In May, videos circulated on social media showing workers revolting at an Apple supplier’s factory in Shanghai due to lockdowns. The factory was one of many facilities that adopted a “closed loop” system in which employees were forced to work, eat and sleep on site or in nearby “bubbles.”
Beijing has faced widespread criticism for its draconian approach to the virus. Earlier this month, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted “end the CCP” – a reference to the Chinese Communist Party – while sharing a CNN report detailing strict “Zero COVID” rules in Beijing.
The measures included mandatory COVID-19 testing with color-coded access to public areas depending on the results, as well as health tracking apps that have exacerbated fears of government surveillance.