Photos: Beijing allows residents to go mask-free as Covid-19 cases drop

Months after taking a u-turn in June on relaxations to mandatory face mask usage in public, health authorities in Beijing gave the go ahead for residents to move about without facial coverings when outdoors, if they choose to do so. A day later, while masks still remain the obvious choice for most, people not sporting them were also seen in the Chinese capital --going about daily lives in an image now almost foreign to all sensibilities.

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST 7 Photos
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A woman not wearing a face mask pushes a baby stroller among people wearing face masks, after the Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control announced that wearing face masks is no longer mandatory outdoors in Beijing, on August 21. The move brings further relaxations to rules aimed at preventing the spread the novel coronavirus after the city reported 13 consecutive days without new cases. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

A woman not wearing a face mask pushes a baby stroller among people wearing face masks, after the Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control announced that wearing face masks is no longer mandatory outdoors in Beijing, on August 21. The move brings further relaxations to rules aimed at preventing the spread the novel coronavirus after the city reported 13 consecutive days without new cases. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST
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A woman waits to cross an intersection near the CCTV Building in Beijing’s central business district on August 21. It is the second time Beijing’s health authorities have relaxed guidelines on mask wearing, which has largely returned to normal after two rounds of lockdowns. The first relaxation came in late April, though rules were swiftly reversed in June after a new outbreak in a large wholesale market in the city’s south. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP)

A woman waits to cross an intersection near the CCTV Building in Beijing’s central business district on August 21. It is the second time Beijing’s health authorities have relaxed guidelines on mask wearing, which has largely returned to normal after two rounds of lockdowns. The first relaxation came in late April, though rules were swiftly reversed in June after a new outbreak in a large wholesale market in the city’s south. (Mark Schiefelbein / AP)

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST
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A chef slices a Peking duck at a restaurant in Beijing on August 20. China has reported no new locally transmitted cases on the mainland for five days after successfully controlling flare ups in the capital, Xinjiang and elsewhere. (Noel Celis / AFP)

A chef slices a Peking duck at a restaurant in Beijing on August 20. China has reported no new locally transmitted cases on the mainland for five days after successfully controlling flare ups in the capital, Xinjiang and elsewhere. (Noel Celis / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST
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A woman wearing a face mask rides a bicycle past men not wearing face masks on August 21. The Chinese characters on the banner read, "It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent and control the coronavirus disease." (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

A woman wearing a face mask rides a bicycle past men not wearing face masks on August 21. The Chinese characters on the banner read, "It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent and control the coronavirus disease." (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST
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A face mask is seen on a man's arm after announcement of relaxations in Beijing on August 21. Despite the relaxed guidelines, a large proportion of people continued to wear masks in Beijing on the first day of relaxations. Some told Reuters the mask made them feel safe, while others said social pressures to wear the masks were also a factor. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

A face mask is seen on a man's arm after announcement of relaxations in Beijing on August 21. Despite the relaxed guidelines, a large proportion of people continued to wear masks in Beijing on the first day of relaxations. Some told Reuters the mask made them feel safe, while others said social pressures to wear the masks were also a factor. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST
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A man wearing a face mask hugs a woman on a street in Beijing on August 21. Experts say the key to the country’s success in controlling the disease has been the strict enforcement of local rules, including wearing masks, mandatory home quarantine and participating in mass testing. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

A man wearing a face mask hugs a woman on a street in Beijing on August 21. Experts say the key to the country’s success in controlling the disease has been the strict enforcement of local rules, including wearing masks, mandatory home quarantine and participating in mass testing. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST
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A man exercises at a park, after the lifting of mandatory face mask requirements in Beijing on August 21. Authorities reported 22 imported cases in the mainland on for August 20, and has closed its borders to most non-Chinese citizens. The country has reported a total of 84,917 cases since the outbreak began. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

A man exercises at a park, after the lifting of mandatory face mask requirements in Beijing on August 21. Authorities reported 22 imported cases in the mainland on for August 20, and has closed its borders to most non-Chinese citizens. The country has reported a total of 84,917 cases since the outbreak began. (Tingshu Wang / REUTERS)

UPDATED ON AUG 22, 2020 11:28 AM IST
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