Bargain-hungry Hongkongers queue for cheap cherries after prices slashed due to COVID scare

Bargain-hungry shoppers queued outside a Wellcome supermarket in Yuen Long to buy discounted cherries. Photo via Facebook/Keith Choy
Bargain-hungry shoppers queued outside a Wellcome supermarket in Yuen Long to buy discounted cherries. Photo via Facebook/Keith Choy

Supermarkets and local produce sellers slashed the prices of cherries following news that cherry imports in mainland China were contaminated with COVID-19, attracting bargain-hungry Hongkongers undeterred by the reports.

In a Facebook group for Yuen Long residents, one user shared a photo taken Wednesday night of a long queue outside a Wellcome supermarket, where cherries had dropped in price from HK$49 to HK$20 a pound.

Another user said she paid HK$260 for a 2kg box of cherries from Tasmania at a produce store. “It’s so worth it,” she wrote.

ParknShop listed a 2kg box of Tasmanian cherries at HK$558, according to the grocery store’s website—more than double the price.

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The recent reports about COVID-contaminated cherries in mainland China have prompted the city’s Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to strengthen monitoring and inspection of imported food. So far, tests of over 3,000 samples of imported frozen food and their packaging returned no trace of the virus, according to local media.

Virus-positive samples of fruit are not necessarily infectious, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As long as we perform hand hygiene properly and wash the fruit under running water before eating it, there should be no risk of infection,” he added.

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