I think that right now, the whole world is something of a voyeur of how things go in China. I mean, it’s where coronavirus started. So regardless of the accuracy of the numbers they’ve reported in terms of cases and deaths, whatever happens there is still “the first,” and everyone else is going to stop and pay attention.
Welp, this past weekend was a long holiday weekend in China. The three-day Qingming Festival holiday began on Saturday. Certain areas of the country have been under 3 months of rules similar to our “lockdown” or “stay at home” orders (albeit with much better actual staying at home). So when several tourist spots were allowed to open for the weekend, all eyes were on them.
It went about as well as you’d expect. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing? Well, as the blog says, Your Mileage May Vary.
According to Global Times, the state-run newspaper, the parking lot at the southern gate of Huangshan Mountain, a popular scenic spot, was almost filled by 6:24am. They stopped taking visitors at 7:48am, having reached the daily limit of 20,000 people. By 10:42am, they were suggesting people come another day.
CNN reported that the Bund waterfront was overflowing with tourists and shoppers, and several restaurants required reservations in order to get a table.
These and other openings happened while the country’s cases of coronavirus are significantly decreasing, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped entirely. People can still be carriers, even if they’re asymptomatic. And photos showed people standing shoulder to shoulder at places like Beijing’s parks and open spaces. Some wore masks. Some wore them incorrectly. Some didn’t wear them at all.
The crowds were large enough that the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, started telling the Chinese on their version of social media, “Do not gather!”
In the same newspaper, an opinion writer suggested that while people understandably want to go out after such a long time in quarantine, now was not the stop to vigilance. “If there are asymptomatic carriers present during large-scale gatherings, the consequences would be severe,” the article said.
The paper also said that Huangshan has since announced it will stop receiving tourists.
The last thing China needs is another wave or coronavirus cases because there were some people at these tourist attractions who were asymptomatic but contagious.
Then again, it’s the last thing ANY country needs.
I fully understand that those who are taking this seriously and staying in their homes are itching to venture outside and see more than the insides of their houses and wherever they go for exercise. That’ll be even moreso in however many weeks or months when stay-at-home orders are finally lifted (hopefully at an appropriate time, when it’s truly safer, and not merely because it’ll be viewed as a way to help the economy). When that time comes, I would suggest pausing. Wait a bit. Watch. See what happens, first.
And let’s definitely keep watching China.
***Feature photo (cropped): Wikimedia
#stayhealthy #stayathome #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary