Hong Kongers continue to bare store shelves on Wednesday morning following mixed messages from the government about whether it plans a hard mainland-style lockdown this month.

Photos circulating on social media this morning showed people were still struggling to find a variety of items, including meat, vegetables, frozen food, noodles, toilet rolls and medicine.

A netizen said the Johnston Road supermarket in Wan Chai failed to restock its shelves after last night’s panic buying.

“Most of the shelves were still empty when I arrived at the store early this morning around 9:00 a.m.,” the user wrote.

Others also said they were like ants coming home, grabbing a bit from one place at a time, not knowing what is still available for sale in each supermarket.

Speaking on a radio show this morning, Thomas Ng Wing-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Food Council, said there was no need for citizens to hoard food.

He said the city’s food supplies are stable and suppliers have already increased imports of frozen meat to deal with the shortage of fresh meat supply due to temporary slaughterhouse closures in Sheung Shui and Tsuen Wan in due to Covid infections.

He also said most supermarkets in Hong Kong are currently understaffed due to employees contracting the coronavirus or having to undergo mandatory quarantine, with supermarkets unable to restock empty shelves this morning.

On Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor defended the government against “confusing” messages sent to citizens. She said the government never planned to lock down the whole city or close it to traffic, and it still maintains the same view now.

Authorities will improve the sending of information to reduce citizens’ anxiety, she said.

Read more: Government urges residents scared of citywide lockdown not to panic