Coronavirus: Beijing announces no need to wear masks outdoors

BEIJING: Beijing removed the guideline that residents should use outdoors, the first city in China and perhaps the world to do so in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating it is under control in the Chinese capital.

After months of wearing masks to prevent risks of virus infection, people can now breathe freely without a mask in Beijing, the state newspaper China Daily reported, citing new guidelines announced by and Control on Sunday.

The center said that people do not need to wear masks outside, but that they should avoid close contact with other people.

It also encourages the public to exercise outdoors in good weather, which is helpful in increasing quality of life and health, according to the report.

The announcement is brought forward to China's Parliament, the National People's Congress (), all set to hold its annual session adjourned on May 22 amid a steady decline in coronavirus cases in the country.

The annual session of the national advisory body, the Chinese People's Conference (CPPCC), is also expected to be held in Beijing on May 21.

Known as the annual political season, the APN and CPPCC sessions, which together have more than 5,000 members, are held every year in early March during which the ruling reveals their national agenda for the year, including the annual budget and formulate new laws.

On Sunday, China (NHC) reported 17 new cases of coronavirus, including 12 asymptomatic infections, while officials in, where the outbreak originated, continued vigorous testing of its more than 11 million residents after new groups of COVID-19 in parts of the city.

As of Saturday, the number of coronavirus cases was 82,947 in China. Of the total cases, 86 patients were being treated, while 78,227 people had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.

The deadly virus has claimed 4,634 lives in the country, the NHC said.

Beijing has reported nine deaths from the viral infection and a total of 593 cases since the end of January. More than 570 patients in Beijing have recovered from the deadly disease.