- A huge number of people flocked to the Great Wall of China as they celebrated the annual Golden Week.
- Golden Week is an eight-day national holiday when people can enjoy an entire week off to travel and reunite with families.
- Despite the guidelines set by management of the famous Beijing tourist destination, the social distancing protocol was disregarded, and some, including children did not wear face masks.
Golden Week started on the 1st of October. During this annual national holiday, many middle-class Chinese typically travel abroad. However, due to the visa restrictions, scarcity of international flights, and other necessary documents required due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many have opted to travel domestically instead.
So in just four days since the holiday commenced, 425 million domestic tourist trips were already recorded. Consequently, the country acquired a revenue of $45 billion according to data from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Among the most famous spots in the country is the Great Wall of China, which the massive crowds visited during the Golden Week.
Photos have circulated showing the Great Wall crammed with people walking along the winding path and through narrow entrances, completely disregarding social distancing protocols. Moreover, some of them were not wearing face masks while others were wearing them improperly.
The Badaling Special Administrative Region Office, a government agency responsible for the Great Wall, prepared for this holiday. When the Badaling Section reopened to the public in March, they required visitors to reserve tickets in advance.
On September 29, they released an announcement, admonishing tourists to continue following the restrictions, which includes social distancing.
The notice stated: “It is strictly forbidden to gather together.”
Furthermore, tourists have been previously reminded to wear masks at all times, and to “obey the guidance and management of the museum staff.
Evidently, the rules were not strictly followed.
By the early morning of October 3, all the tickets for the said section were sold out. This meant that there were 48,750 visitors that day— the maximum number allowed since officials raised the cap to 75% for the holiday.
Since spring, the number of Covid-19 cases in China has remained low. Despite a few outbreaks, their government had been very quick to contain the virus.
Because local transmissions had been little to none, and more information emerged about the virus, they are somehow confident to travel around the country, CNN reports.
Also, to attract tourists, provincial and municipal governments distributed travel vouchers. Tourist attractions offered discounted or free tickets as well.
Chen Qianmei, from the southern city of Guangzhou, told CNN, that the sense of imminent danger has largely faded now. The 29-year old flew to Shanghai a week ago for the holiday.
“I think China has (the virus) under pretty good control,” she said. “I’m wearing masks and bringing alcohol wipes with me to clean my hands, especially before eating — although in Shanghai, few people wear masks now.”
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