Lemons, peaches and TCM bought as protection against viruses

Farmers sort and pack lemons at a workshop in Neijiang, east China’s Sichuan province, 24 November 2020.

Huang Zhenghua | Visual China Group | Getty Images

Covid cases in China saw a surge after the country eased strict zero-tolerance rules. Also rising: Traditional Chinese medicine and lemon prices as Chinese citizens fight to stay safe from the virus.

Fruits rich in vitamin C and antioxidants are priced higher due to higher demand.

This month, a grocery store in Beijing charged 13 yuan ($1.86) for two lemons, about twice the usual price.

Other locals have complained about lemon inflation on social media platforms like Weibo, with one user saying she spent 12 yuan (US$1.72) for three lemons.

“I didn’t know lemon prices could triple in a day,” another Weibo user posted.

According to a local media report, lemons in Chengdu once sold out on e-commerce platform Dingdong Maicai.

Canned peaches are seeing increasing demand. Fresh Hippo, another Alibaba-owned e-commerce retailer, reported that sales of canned yellow peaches are up nearly 900% week-on-week.

On December 14, 2022, a notice was posted at a municipal health post in Beijing, China, stating that Chinese patent medicines such as Lianhua Qingwen Granules are temporarily out of stock.

CFOTO | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Shares of Chinese pharmaceutical companies involved in manufacturing traditional Chinese medicines hit their highest level in a year earlier this month after rising Covid case numbers and endorsements of the herbal remedies by officials.

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical, which makes the popular herbal treatment Lianhua Qingwen, rose 184% year over year in early December.

China Resources Sanjiu Medicine & Pharmacy At the end of November, it was also up more than 142% compared to the same period last year.

Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital President Liu Qingquan said in a December briefing that traditional Chinese medicine, when taken with Western medicines, has “a very good effect” on stimulating gastrointestinal functions as well as to the treatment of fever and other symptoms associated with it belongs to the Omicron strain.

In recent weeks, local and central government agencies in China have reversed their draconian zero-Covid measures, which had included people staying at home and many businesses working remotely.

On Monday, China announced that from next year, travelers will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival in the mainland.

– CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report

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