Footage from Huangshan Mountain Park in Anhui Province on Saturday April 4 showed thousands of people crowded together, many wearing face masks, eager to experience the great outdoors after months of travel restrictions and lockdown measures. strict.
Meanwhile, in Shanghai, the famous Bund waterfront was once again filled with shoppers and tourists, after almost deserted weeks. Many of the town’s restaurants that were closed just a few days ago also appeared to be trading, with several requiring reservations to enter.
A similar story unfolded in the capital Beijing, with locals flocking to the city’s parks and open spaces.
The sudden return to apparent normality comes more than three months after the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The epidemic, which has since spread around the world, infecting more than a million people, has virtually brought much of China to a standstill in an attempt to contain transmissions.
At its peak, thousands of new cases were recorded in China every day. However, in recent weeks the infection rate has slowed down considerably. China reported just 39 new cases on Monday, all but one of which were imported. To date, China has recorded 82,641 cases and 3,335 deaths.
But as the government slowly eases restrictions, Chinese health experts have urged the public to continue to exercise caution.
Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist with the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Health Times on Thursday that China has not seen the epidemic end.
“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.
Too too soon?
With the number of new infections in China reportedly falling, the government has tentatively started efforts to restart the country’s manufacturing and service industries.
In recent weeks, however, there have been signs the government was reluctant to open up too quickly and trigger a second wave of infections in the country.
After images of the crowds in Huangshan emerged on social media, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, issued a stern rebuke on social media warning tourists, âDon’t gather!
“If there are asymptomatic carriers present at large-scale gatherings, the consequences would be serious,” the article said.
According to the newspaper, Huangshan has since announced that he will stop receiving tourists.
Concerns over whether China is easing its restrictions on coronaviruses too soon have led experts and authorities in Hong Kong to warn of the possibility of a “third wave” of infections in the city.
Speaking to local reporters on Sunday, Hong Kong epidemiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said there could be a “new wave” of cases in mainland China, following infections imported from Europe and United States.
“So in Hong Kong, we might have a third wave of cases coming from the mainland after a second wave … The outbreak is still serious in society. At this point, it’s still not optimistic. What m ‘Most worried is inadequate testing on patients with mild symptoms, which prevents us from cutting the chain of transmission,’ he said.
The global financial hub is still trying to contain a second wave of imported cases after the return of citizens and expats from Europe and the UK which led to a new outbreak in late March.
In just under two weeks, the number of local infections dropped from 317 to almost 900.
Such measures could include restricting restaurants to “take-out only” or even a city-wide lockdown.
“It could also risk causing panic, but we have to accept that it may be necessary if the alternative is the risk of worse,” he said.
CNN’s Shawn Deng, Isaac Yee, Eric Cheung and Steven Jiang contributed to this article.