China Coronavirus COVID-19
An elderly woman arrives in an ambulance to Wuhan Red Cross Hospital after being transferred from another hospital after recovering from the COVID-19 coronavirus in Wuhan on March 30, 2020. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

Large crowds gathered at China’s tourist sites over the weekend as the country celebrated the Qingming Festival. This despite warnings from health officials that the risk of spreading the coronavirus is still high.

Over the past week, China has slowly relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions on citizens. After months of battling the pandemic, the country has started to pick up the pieces and return to normal with establishments finally being opened and lockdown measures being lifted. This coincided with the festival that started on Saturday, April 4.

On Sunday, thousands flocked Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province eager to enjoy the sun after weeks of being forced to stay indoors. The overflow of people forced the tourist site to release a notice as early as 7:48 am that it had reached its daily capacity of 20,000, Global Times reported.

Photos posted on social media showed the crowds crammed together, shoulder to shoulder, many wearing face masks. Similar scenes were seen at Beijing, where crowds gathered at parks and open spaces. In Shanghai, the Bund waterfront drew large crowds of shoppers and tourists, CNN noted.

This has caused health experts to sound the alarm, warning the public that despite low numbers of new coronavirus cases the past weeks, the pandemic is far from over.

“China is not near the end, but has entered a new stage. With the global epidemic raging, China has not reached the end,” Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told Health Times.

Notably, the National Health Commission (NHC) revealed that a growing number of asymptomatic cases have been found in China. As of Sunday, there were 78 new asymptomatic cases, an increase of 31 from the day before.

This has been a growing concern for the government as such cases continue to risk spreading the virus whcih could cause a possible second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country. The first case of the novel coronavirus was discovered in China in November 2019, infecting thousands in Wuhan province then across China before it made its way across the globe.

As of April 6, 10:48 GMT, there are 81,7080 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China, with 3,331 deaths, according to Worldometers.