People wearing face masks pose for a selfie at a public park overlooking the Forbidden City, which remains closed to the public, in Beijing.AP AP
Beijing has banned "uncivilised" behaviour such as not covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, the city government said Sunday, in a new set of regulations to improve public hygiene amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The laws aim to promote "civilised behaviour" and relate to combating the pandemic which has infected more than 82,000 in China alone.
Rulebreakers will be slapped with fines for offences including not wearing a mask in public when ill, the municipal government said on its website.
The laws also require public places to set up one metre distance markers and to provide communal chopsticks and serving spoons for shared meals.
Citizens must also "dress neatly" in public and not go shirtless — an apparent reference to the so-called "Beijing bikini" practice where men roll T-shirts up to expose their stomachs in hot weather.
The state-run Global Times said the rule equalled a "total ban" of the practice in public places.
Beijing already discourages a range of "uncivilised" behaviours including public spitting, littering, walking dogs unleashed, throwing things from high buildings, public defecation and smoking in places where it is prohibited.
But the latest rules — passed on Friday — outline new specific punishments.
Fines for littering, spitting and defecation in public were upped to a maximum of 200 yuan ($28), from a previous upper limit of 50 yuan.
In the past, these regulations were enforced in a patchy way and the habits have not been stamped out completely.
Those who do not sort their rubbish correctly can be fined up to 200 yuan, and residents responsible for noise pollution in public spaces and who walk their dogs unleashed can be fined up to 500 yuan.
The laws also encourage police to report serious offences, which may affect a person's social credit score — a fledgling system which aims to assess individual actions across society — though it did not provide more specifics.
China is already trying to contain a wave of infections in its largest city Shanghai, which has been almost entirely locked down for weeks and reported 51 new Covid deaths on Monday.
The five-day break is typically one of China's busiest travel periods, but the country's worst Covid resurgence since early in the pandemic is likely to keep people home.
As authorities wrestle with China's worst COVID outbreaks since the epidemic began, authorities in its most populous city of Shanghai have launched a new push to end infections outside quarantine zones by late May.
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