Chinese tourist sites packed as coronavirus lockdown lifts

In the Global News daily roundup of the top coronavirus headlines, we cover what you need to know today about the COVID-19 outbreak, including Wuhan preparing to lift its lockdown measures and Paris banning outdoor activities.

As other countries lock down amid the coronavirus pandemic, China is free after multiple weeks indoors, and people are heading to tourist sites in droves.

Sites were packed during the country’s holiday weekend, despite warnings from health officials that the battle against COVID-19 isn’t over yet, CNN reports.

Photos from Huangshan mountain park were shared on China’s Twitter-like social media site, Weibo, showing thousands of people crammed together to enter the site during the country’s Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day.

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At 7:48 a.m., officials declared the park at full capacity, according to state media the Global Times. The park allows no more than 20,000 people in per day.

The publication reports that Anhui province has begun a two-week tourism promotion, allowing all 31 of its scenic spots to be visited free of charge from April 1 to 14.

Shanghai‘s famous Bund waterfront was also overwhelmed with visitors, CNN reports, after weeks of being practically empty thanks to the country’s lockdown procedures.

“China is not near the end, but has entered a new stage,” Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Health Times on Thursday, according to CNN.

“With the global epidemic raging, China has not reached the end,” he said.

China, originally the epicentre of the deadly outbreak, was recording thousands of new cases per day at its peak but has seen a lull in new ones lately.

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On Monday, only 39 new cases were reported.

The National Health Commission said in a statement on Sunday that 25 of the latest cases involved people who had entered from abroad, compared with 18 such cases a day earlier.

Five new locally transmitted infections were also reported on Saturday, all in the southern coastal province of Guangdong, up from a day earlier.

China appears to be relaxing its restrictions too soon, not bracing properly for a potential third wave of the virus, Hong Kong epidemiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said to media on Sunday.

“So in Hong Kong, we might have a third wave of cases coming from the mainland after a second wave … The epidemic is still serious in the society,” he said.

“At this stage, it is still not optimistic. What worries me the most is inadequate testing on patients with mild symptoms, which prevents us from cutting off the chain of transmission.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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