Is China’s coronavirus lockdown ending too soon?
New photos show China’s tourist sites absolutely packed as the country begins to lift lockdown restrictions.
Some fear the sudden abrupt end to social distancing and big groups could lead to a relapse in cases.
MSN reports large numbers of people flocked to popular tourists sites and major cities across China over the country’s holiday weekend, despite warnings from health authorities that the risk posed by the coronavirus pandemic remains far from over.
Images from the Huangshan mountain park in Anhui province on Saturday April 4 showed thousands of people crammed together, many wearing face masks, eager to experience the great outdoors after months of travel restrictions and strict lockdown measures.
Such was the rush to get into the popular tourist spot, that at 7.48 a.m., authorities took the unusual step of issuing a notice declaring that the park had reached its 20,000 person daily capacity, and would not be accepting any more visitors, according to state media Global Times.
Meanwhile in Shanghai, the famous Bund waterfront was once again packed with shoppers and tourists, after weeks of being near deserted. Many of the city’s restaurants that were shuttered only days ago also appeared to be doing a brisk trade, with several requiring reservations to enter.
A similar story played out in the capital Beijing, with locals flocking to the city’s parks and open spaces.
The abrupt return to apparent normality comes more than three months after the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The outbreak, which has since spread around the world infecting more than a million people, saw much of China brought to a near standstill in an effort to contain transmissions.
At its peak, thousands of new cases were recorded in China everyday. However, in recent weeks the rate of infection has slowed significantly. On Monday, China reported just 39 new cases, all but one of which were imported. To date, China has recorded 82,641 cases and 3,335 deaths.
But while the government is slowly relaxing restrictions, Chinese health experts have urged the public to continue to practice caution.
Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Health Times on Thursday that China had not seen the end of the epidemic.
“China is not near the end, but has entered a new stage. With the global epidemic raging, China has not reached the end,” he said.