Lemons, peaches and TCM bought as virus protection

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

Huang Zhenghua | China Visual Group | Getty Images

Covid cases in China saw a surge after the country relaxed its strict zero-tolerance rules. Also rising are the prices of traditional Chinese medicine and lemons as Chinese citizens struggle to protect themselves from the virus.

Prices of fruits rich in vitamin C and antioxidants are increasing due to higher demand.

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

Other locals have taken to social media platforms such as Weibo to complain about lemon inflation, with one user saying he paid 12 yuan ($1.72) for three lemons.

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

At one point, lemons were sold out in Chengdu on e-commerce platform Dingdong Maicai, according to a local media report.

Canned peaches are seeing an increase in demand. Fresh Hippo, another Alibaba-owned e-commerce merchant, reported weekly sales of canned yellow peaches up nearly 900%.

A notice is posted at a community health service station in Beijing, China on December 14, 2022, showing that Chinese patent medicines such as Lianhua Qingwen Granules are temporarily out of stock.

CFOTO | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Similarly, shares of Chinese pharmaceutical companies involved in the production of traditional Chinese medicine hit their highest levels in a year earlier this month, following a surge in Covid cases and endorsements by officials for herbal remedies.

Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical, which makes the popular herbal treatment Lianhua Qingwen, surged 184% in early December from a year earlier.

Resources of China Sanjiu Medicine and Pharmaceuticals similarly, at the end of November, an increase of more than 142% was recorded compared to the same period last year.

The president of the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Liu Qingquan, said at a December briefing that traditional Chinese medicine, if taken with Western remedies, “has a very good effect” on stimulating the gastrointestinal functions, as well as in the treatment of fever and other related symptoms. .in the Omicron strain.

In recent weeks, China’s local and central government authorities abandoned their draconian zero-Covid measures that had, among other things, required people to stay at home and many businesses to operate mostly remotely.

On Monday, China announced that incoming travelers will no longer need to quarantine when they arrive on the peninsula starting next year.

— CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report

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