An elderly couple became lost and wandered around Nanjing for nine hours while the city was cloaked in smog on Tuesday, reported Jiangsu Broadcasting Network.

The unnamed couple went out at around 9am to do their grocery shopping and got lost when the heavy smog made all the neighbourhood buildings look the same, according to the report.

They wandered around trying to find their way in the neighbourhood until 6pm, when a kind passer-by reported their situation to the police.

A cyclist wearing a mask rides along a road as heavy smog engulfs the city in Nanjing, China. Photo / Getty Images
A cyclist wearing a mask rides along a road as heavy smog engulfs the city in Nanjing, China. Photo / Getty Images

Police managed to contact their daughter, who soon took them home from the police station."I went outside with my wife to buy vegetables and could not find the way back," the husband was quoted as saying. "I had left my phone at home where no one could answer it."

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Heavy smog has hit several provinces in eastern China including Jiangsu, where Nanjing is located. There, a heavy fog red alert was issued on Monday afternoon, the most severe level of a four-tier system, and an orange warning for pollution.

Many flights out of the city's main airport were delayed on Tuesday because of poor visibility.

Major roads and bridges in the province were closed and locals were advised by police to travel by train or subway.

Jiangsu Meteorological Bureau warned people to reduce their outdoor activities and take care if using the roads.

Children and the elderly, in particular, were urged to take preventive measures to reduce the health risk from the air pollution.

The smog is predicted to end on Saturday or Sunday as cold air moves in to the region.

- South China Morning Post