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IKEA shoppers rush out of Shanghai store amid Covid lockdown attempt

SHANGHAI - There were chaotic scenes at an IKEA outlet in Shanghai on Saturday (Aug 13) when authorities tried to lock down the store after learning that a customer had been in close contact with a COVID-19 case.

Videos circulating on Chinese social media showed customers pushing past security guards and running out of the store in panic as an announcement blared over its sound system saying the mall was being locked down due to COVID-19 contact tracing.

Guards were seen closing the doors to prevent people from leaving, but a crowd forced their way through and rushed out. 

IKEA customer service said on Sunday that the mall was shut due to COVID-19 curbs, Reuters reported, adding that the retailer did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

According to online reports, Shanghai's health officials said they imposed a "temporary control measure" at the store after they discovered that a close contact of a six-year-old boy who was asymptomatic had visited. 

They did not say when the close contact was in the store. 

Everyone at IKEA and other affected areas will need to quarantine for two days before five days of health surveillance, Bloomberg reported, quoting Mr Zhao Dandan, deputy director of Shanghai Health Commission, who gave a briefing on Sunday. 

After months of COVID-19 lockdowns, Shanghai announced on Sunday that it would reopen all schools including kindergartens, as well as primary and middle schools on Sep 1. 

The city will require all teachers and students to take nucleic acid tests for the coronavirus every day before leaving campus, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission said.

It also called for teachers and students to carry out a 14-day "self-health management" within the city ahead of the school reopening, the commission said in a statement.

Shanghai shut all schools in mid-March before the city's two-month lockdown to combat its worst COVID-19 outbreak in April and May.

It allowed some students in high school and middle school to return to classrooms in June while most of the rest continued home study for the remainder of the semester.

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