Prior to the current outbreak, life in China had largely returned to normal with cases all but eliminated barring small, isolated outbreaks. In many cities, people going about their daily lives no longer wore face masks, and photos of largely maskless crowds at tourist hotspots and music festivals repeatedly made international headlines.
On Friday, China's National Health Commission issued revised guidelines, requiring the public to wear face masks in not only indoor venues and public transport, but also in crowded outdoor areas.
"The public...has become less aware of Covid-19 prevention as the pandemic drags on. Some think they do not have to wear a mask after getting vaccinated -- leading to loopholes in epidemic prevention and personal protection," the National Health Commission said on Friday.