Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Mar 30, 2023

Thousands Gather To Celebrate New Year In China Amid Covid Surge

Thousands Gather To Celebrate New Year In China Amid Covid Surge

Police used loudspeakers at a number of locations, blasting out a short message on a loop telling people not to gather, to which people appeared to take little or no notice.
Thousands gathered in central Wuhan on Saturday night to count down to the start of what many hoped would be a much better year after a "tough" 2022 filled with lockdowns and in December a major new outbreak of the coronavirus.

Many released balloons into the sky when the clocks struck midnight, as per tradition in the central Chinese city where the pandemic began three years ago, before grabbing selfies with their friends.

"In the past year, I feel that COVID-19 was very serious and some of my family members have been hospitalised,” 17-year-old Wuhan high school student, surnamed Wang, told Reuters from the riverside shortly after midnight.

“I hope they will be healthy in the new year. This is the most important thing.”

Some came in fancy dress and almost everyone present wore masks as the country sees a wave of COVID which accelerated after curbs were dropped and which has since infected large swathes of the population with deaths now reaching an estimated 9000 a day according to UK-based health data firm Airfinity.

“I am afraid," said a lady surnamed Jin, referring to the possibility of being reinfected with COVID-19.

“I was still afraid when I came out tonight, but I just wanted to come out, because everyone has come out."

The crowds, including Jin, who were especially tightly packed in front of the old clock tower at Wuhan's Hankou Customs House, were watched by large numbers of police officers, SWAT, unidentified plain-clothed personnel, and other security workers.In late November hundreds of people took part in lockdown demonstrations on the streets of cities across the country including Wuhan. Following those protests, China all but abandoned its strict "zero COVID" policy of stringent curbs.

“Those restrictions were in place for too long, so perhaps people were pretty unhappy," said 24-year-old Wuhan resident surnamed Chen, who works in e-commerce. "It had been a long time since things were lively and vibrant."

Police used loudspeakers at a number of locations, blasting out a short message on a loop telling people not to gather, to which people appeared to take little or no notice.

People just wanted to have a nice time.

“I'm looking forward to the new year but I'm also very nervous," said Wuhan resident Lily Zhao, 37, who works as a kindergarten teacher. "I'm wondering when this epidemic will be completely over.“

In Shanghai, which like many Chinese cities in 2022 was put under a lengthy lockdown, many thronged the historic riverside walkway, the Bund.

"We've all travelled in from Chengdu to celebrate in Shanghai," said Da Dai, a 28-year-old digital media executive who was travelling with two friends. "We've already had COVID, so now feel it's safe to enjoy ourselves."While there were enough people on the Bund to warrant police directing the flow of those there, local F&B establishments were less busy than last year.

“It's not nearly as busy as it was last year,” said a waiter at Lost Heaven restaurant close to the Bund. Some tables were empty, which would not normally be the case on NYE he said, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media. The restaurant had over 200 bookings, but typically has 20-30% more, he said.

“People have been afraid to come out since the COVID policy was loosened,” he said. “Hopefully it'll be better next year."

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
China and Brazil have signed a new deal that will allow them to trade in their own currencies, bypassing the US dollar as an intermediary
Elon Musk and Others Call for Pause on A.I., Citing ‘Profound Risks to Society’
“We've had evidence prior to the pandemic that masks were largely ineffective at preventing community transmission of influenza “
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz rejects being labeled a "billionaire"
Jamie Dimon is being deposed over JPMorgan Chase role in Epstein lawsuits
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
Social Media censoring users for saying the true
Smart Iranian fashion designer teaching dummy TV anchors lesson about reality
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
Singapore’s Prime Minister says China and US need to stabilize relations because world can't afford a confict between the two superpowers
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Bordeaux town hall set on fire in France pro democracy protest
Police violence in Paris
Paris: Some of the police are stepping down and showing solidarity with the protesters.
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Goldman Sachs cuts outlook for European bank debt over Credit Suisse crisis
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
The US government has charged Chinese businessman Guo Wengui with leading a $1 billion fraud scheme that cheated thousands of followers out of their money.
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
The BBC problem about China
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
"Will Fly Wherever International Law Allows": US Warns Russia After Drone Incident
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
Announcing GPT-4
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
China is calling out the US, UK, and Australia on their submarine pact, claiming they are going further down a dangerous road
A brief banking situation report
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
'No relation to the American SVB': India's SVC Bank acts to calm depositors amid brand name confusion.
Good news: The U.S. government is now guaranteeing all deposits, held by, Silicon Valley Bank, and the funds are available as of today
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
In a potential last-ditch effort, HSBC is considering a rescue deal to save Silicon Valley Bank UK from insolvency
Saudi Arabia has announced a major breakthrough in diplomacy with Iran after two years of intense talks
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
A primitive judge in Australia sparked outrage when he told a breastfeeding woman to leave his courtroom for being “a distraction"