China's Beijing became the first major city in the world to do away with wearing face masks while outdoors, according to media reports. Beijing's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its new guidelines issued on Sunday said residents can now go outside without face coverings, signaling that coronavirus outbreak is under control in the capital. According to reports, the CDC has said even though wearing a face mask is not compulsory anymore, residents still need to follow social distancing rules and avoid physical contact with others.
The latest announcement was made ahead of China's National People’s Congress (NPC), parliament's annual session that is now scheduled to be held on May 22. The annual session that takes place every year in March was postponed indefinitely due to coronavirus outbreak. The Communist Party of China (CPC) will also hold its postponed annual session of the national advisory body on May 21, where it will discuss the party's agenda for the year, including the annual budget and formulation of new laws.
China is facing a lot of criticism from the international community over its initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. On May 18, over 61 countries agreed to table a resolution in the World Health Assembly demanding an impartial and independent probe into the handling of the outbreak and the origin of the disease. The United States has time and again accused the Communist state of not sharing full information on the outbreak and has said that it posses evidence suggesting that the virus emerged from a virology laboratory in Wuhan.
Chinese president Xi Jinping during his speech at the World Health Assembly that commenced online defended Beijing's handling of the outbreak and also urged the international community to contribute more to the World Health Organisation (WHO) funding. Xi Jinping defended WHO chief Tedros Adhanom's response to the pandemic and also pledged $2 billion to the United Nations.
(Image Credit: AP)