Beijing officials have proposed new law to enforce citizens to wear face masks in public amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Local lawmakers have submitted a draft of the ‘Beijing Promotional Regulations of Civilised Manners’ today for its second review in a committee meeting.
Anti-coronavirus regulations were added to the newly-proposed law, ordering residents with flu symptoms to wear face masks in public and cover their faces when they cough or sneeze even after the crisis passes.
It came as Beijing has recorded a total of 150 imported cases, sparking fears of a second wave of the outbreak hitting the nation.
The proposal was initially issued in late October last year, but officials decided to re-draft the bill in March in response to the virus outbreak.
Other new requirements included using public spoons and chopsticks when sharing a meal, as well as forbidding illegal trade of wild animals.
Citizens who breach the regulations would face ‘serious financial punishment’, but it is unclear how much they would be fined, according to the press.
Chinese officials have ordered people to regularly wear face masks as a precaution against catching the coronavirus during the outbreak. Residents are also required to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres (4.92 feet) away from one another in public.
However, one medical expert told MailOnline that masks ‘cannot’ protect against the virus and that wearing them may even make it worse.
Meanwhile Public Health England has warned that there is ‘very little evidence’ that masks are effective ‘outside of clinical settings’ such as hospitals.
Restaurants and canteens around China also launched a ‘one person per table’ policy to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after citizens started to leave their homes and resume their lives back to normal.
It came as millions of Chinese residents were allowed to leave Hubei yesterday after officials lifted a two-month lockdown on the former coronavirus epicentre.
Some of China’s most popular tourist sites also resumed their business after staying closed for nearly two months to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
But one of China’s top coronavirus experts has warned that the nation is facing a second outbreak due to the increasing number of infections detected among new arrivals from abroad.
Professor Li Lanjuan, a member of Beijing’s expert team on the virus, said she was ‘very worried that imported cases could trigger another large-scale epidemic in our country’.
Meanwhile, Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed the official figure from China today, becoming the second highest in the world.
Globally there are 460,000 confirmed cases and more than 20,000 deaths and more than 110,000 people having recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.