China celebrates New Year's Eve with spectacular light show

Crowds celebrate New Year’s Eve in China despite deadly wave of covid contagions

Large crowds in some Chinese cities welcomed 2023 without the usual anti covid restrictions in recent years and, moreover, despite the fact that the country continues to suffer its biggest wave of contagions, which according to some sources, causes thousands of deaths daily.

According to testimonies on social media, thousands of people gathered last night in the most emblematic places of cities such as Chongqing (center), Wuhan (center), Shijiazhuang (north), Lanzhou (west) or Zhengzhou (center) to witness the countdown before the new year.

“People have been oppressed for too long. It’s time to party,” commented a user of the Twitter-like Weibo social network, which is blocked in the country.

The crowds contrast with the cancellations of mass events recorded on the last day of 2021, when the ‘zero covid’ policy, dismantled by the authorities in the last month after protests were recorded, remained in force. Then, activities such as end-of-year flea markets or the traditional ringing of bells in some religious temples were banned in numerous cities.

This weekend, other residents of the Asian giant took advantage of the three public holidays to travel, and of the recent lifting of PCR testing requirements and other controls that had complicated inter-provincial travel for months.

The Beijing Transport Commission said air travel in the capital reached a peak this weekend, surpassing the 1,000 daily flight threshold for the first time since the dismantling of the ‘zero covid’ guideline began, while the central province of Shaanxi estimated that there would be up to six times as many train journeys in its territory as in the same holiday period a year ago.

The return to normality in the celebrations comes as covid continues to spread across China, although official figures on Sunday reported only one covid death on the last day of the year.

The rapid spread of the virus across the country has cast doubt on the reliability of official data, which have recorded only a handful of recent deaths from the disease even though localities and provinces have estimated that a significant proportion of their populations have been infected.

-Thailand News (TN)

TN

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