So far, shops still have supplies, though some residents said prices had risen despite government warnings to keep them steady.
“If we can’t bring in produce, it will become more expensive, or we might even have to close up,” said Zuo Qichao, who was selling piles of cucumbers, turnips and tomatoes. As he spoke, a woman accused him of unfairly raising the turnips’ price.
“Every county, every village around here is now putting up barriers, worried about that disease,” Mr. Zuo said. “Even if the government says it wants food guaranteed, it won’t be easy — all those road checks.”
For now, the Wuhan city authorities have the benefit of a population willing to endure restrictions to slow the epidemic. But that mood could shift if the measures hamper food supplies and worsen medical shortages.
“Now is not the time for recriminations,” said Li Xiandu, a retired business manager. “The local government wasn’t forthcoming with information and didn’t take vigorous enough measures. But we need to get through this first, and then we can assign blame.”
Reporting was contributed by Raymond Zhong, Chris Buckley, Motoko Rich, Austin Ramzy, Denise Grady, Roni Rabin, Ezra Cheung, Max Fisher, Vivian Wang, Ian Austen, Josh Keller, Yonette Joseph, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Aurelien Breeden. Claire Fu and Wang Yiwei contributed research.