Ikea, which has a total of 15,000 employees in Russia, will let staff go as it reduces its operations there and in neighbouring Belarus
Ikea, which has a total of 15,000 employees in Russia, will let staff go as it reduces its operations there and in neighbouring Belarus AFP / LOIC VENANCE

Officials tried to lockdown an Ikea store in the Xuhai district of Shanghai, China, on Saturday, as part of a COVID-19 quarantine, causing mass chaos and panic among shoppers at the store, according to videos posted on social media.

Health officials tried to lock down the store as part of China's zero-COVID strategy and quarantine everyone inside the store after a child tested positive for the virus and came in close contact with someone who had visited the store, Bloomberg reported.

In the social media videos, guards can be seen trying to close and lock the doors of the Ikea store, but the large crowd forced them back open to make their escape.

Some shoppers were trapped in the store from 8 p.m. until just after midnight, when they were transferred to quarantine hotels, a visitor posted on the social media site, Douyin, according to Bloomberg.

The lockdown at the Ikea store was ordered by Chinese officials as a 6-year-old boy tested positive for COVID after returning to Shanghai from Lhasa in Tibet. He had earlier come in close contact with one of the shoppers, Shanghai Health Commission Deputy Director Zhao Dandan said on Sunday in a news briefing, as reported by the BBC.

It was unclear if the person who had come in close contact with the boy was in the Ikea store at the time of the lockdown. As many as 400 close contacts of the boy, who is asymptotic, have been identified, with 80,000 people ordered to undergo PCR testing, the Shanghai Daily said, as reported by the BBC.

Shoppers at the Ikea store must quarantine for two days in addition to five days of health monitoring, according to Zhao, the BBC said. The Ikea store, which was the first location opened in China in 1998, has been shut down as a result of COVID measures, adding that it would reopen on Tuesday, Bloomberg said. Ikea has 35 stores in China.

This is not the first lockdown that China has rapidly enacted, as the region has been subject to immediate shutdowns due to its zero-COVID-19 strategy. When a positive case of the virus is detected or close contacts are identified, government officials have forced lockdowns at restaurants, offices, gyms, or other locations.

As many as 25 million Shanghai residents were banned from leaving their homes for two months this spring in a lockdown that looked to eliminate COVID-19 from the region. The move forced shutdowns of various industries, creating supply chain issues worldwide.