Beijing reopens parks and museums following Covid-19 pandemic

Beijing, China, coronavirus
The gates to the Forbidden City in Beijing

Parks and museums in China’s capital city have reopened after shutting their doors during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Forbidden City is among the many attractions to be welcoming visitors, but only 5,000 people will be allowed to visit the past home of China’s emperors in Beijing, down from 80,000.

Large-scale group activities in remain on hold and visitors must book tickets to visit parks, according to Gao Dawei, deputy director of the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau.

Beijing has downgraded its level of emergency response to the virus from first to second tier, but temperature checks and social distancing remain in force.

The change comes at the start of the five-day May 1 holiday and in advance of China’s rescheduled gathering of the National People’s Congress on May 22.

The two-week annual meetings, which were due to take place in March, are largely ceremonial, with the legislature rubber-stamping decisions reached earlier by Communist Party leaders.

It is not yet clear if the 3,000 or so delegates would come to Beijing, or if sessions would be held virtually through video conference.

China reported 12 new cases of the virus, six of them brought from overseas, and no new deaths for the 16th day in a row.

It has reported a total of 4,633 deaths from the virus among about 83,000 cases, mostly in the central city of Wuhan.

Most recent cases reported in China have been among travellers arriving from abroad or in a northeastern province near the border with Russia.

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