Tonghua City residents imprisoned in their homes, low on food amid lockdown

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(Natural News) Residents in the northeastern Chinese city of Tonghua have been stuck in their homes due to the local government’s lockdown order. Many of them have been running out of food, if not getting insufficient amounts of it. Locals have complained of a food shortage and inadequate rations after being locked inside their homes for several days. State-run media outlet Xinhua News Agency reported Jan. 27 that many are still required to stay home, despite the city testing all residents for the Wuhan coronavirus thrice.

The local government of Tonghua ordered the citywide lockdown Jan. 18, prohibiting people from going outside. Community volunteers are in charge of distributing food supplies to residents who cannot leave their homes. The Epoch Times managed to get in touch with some of the volunteers to find out the actual situation in the city.

A college student who used the alias Gao was among the volunteers The Epoch Times contacted. He said he has been doing volunteer work for nearly a week ever since returning to Tonghua for the Chinese New Year holiday. According to Gao, residents are still stuck at home – with some of their doors sealed shut – despite a third round of COVID-19 mass testing.

The college student described his work as a food delivery volunteer. When residents place an order, the supermarket gives it to the volunteers. The volunteers then go to the supermarket to pick up the ordered items such as vegetables, fruits and other essential supplies and deliver them to the customers. Residents pay for the items online and they will just have to wait for their orders to arrive. Gao and other volunteers would need to remove the seals from residents’ doors so they can be opened. They then give the residents their orders of food and essential supplies, re-sealing the doors before departing.


“We usually work with supermarket chains. We start as early as 7 a.m., put on protective clothing and start the delivery. We usually finish the delivery at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m,” Gao said. He added that he would immediately fall asleep after getting home and disinfecting himself. Unfortunately, Gao commented that volunteers do not receive any subsidies despite the risks and long working hours.

Lockdown measures only cause more damage

Another volunteer who used the alias Lin told The Epoch Times that people are “not allowed to go downstairs or go out” of their buildings. Thus, community or neighborhood volunteers take care of delivering food and supplies to Tonghua residents. But the volunteers’ movements are also limited as they are prohibited from going to different neighborhoods. They are generally assigned to do deliveries in the communities they live in. Lin continued that some volunteers are using their own vehicles as the government “cannot provide any transportation.”

Lin’s main task is to sort vegetables for delivery. He mentioned that volunteers like him that handle logistic support and vegetable sorting have a special pass that lets them go beyond their neighborhoods. “Some volunteers don’t have a pass, so they are not allowed to leave their neighborhood. They can only work inside the community,” he said.

On the issue of Tonghua’s food shortage, the volunteer commented that there was none. Instead, he pointed out chaotic management for the food supply issues. Lin believes that young migrant workers, the low income groups, the unemployed, the handicapped and the elderly living alone are those needing food the most.

Even other volunteers have been hit hard by the city’s inconsistent food supply. A Tonghua volunteer aired his grievance on Chinese social media Jan 26. He said that his team did not have anything to eat after their morning and afternoon shift as food supplies were insufficient. “Our team leader led us on a strike and I’m starving,” the volunteer said. (Related: New coronavirus outbreaks in China lead to strict lockdown measures.)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against the use of lockdowns, such as the one in Tonghua City, to curb the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. The global health body initially supported lockdown measures during the pandemic’s early days. WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr. Takeshi Kasai said in April 2020 that lockdowns “have proved effective.” WHO Health Emergencies Program Executive Director Dr. Michael Ryan shared Kasai’s view. In July 2020, Ryan said that countries may face situations where a full lockdown “is the only option.”

However, the WHO made a complete turnaround regarding its stance on lockdown measures in October 2020. WHO Special Envoy on COVID-19 Dr. David Nabarro told The Spectator that lockdowns do more harm than good to a country’s citizens. He said: “Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never, ever belittle – and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.” has more about coronavirus lockdown measures in China and other countries.

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