AP Photos: Beijing slowly reopens amid falling virus cases

A woman wearing a protective face mask visits the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus outbreak i...
Visitors wearing protective face masks walk on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus outbreak ...
A girl wearing a face mask rides a bicycle past a mural of giant pandas at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public f...
Visitors wearing protective face masks take a rest as they visit the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new cor...
A man and a child wearing protective face masks look back as they walk on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following th...
Visitors wearing protective face masks walk on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus outbreak ...
In this photo taken Thursday, March 19, 2020, visitors enjoy a sunny day at a park in Beijing, China. While many of the city's world-famous tourist si...
In this photo taken Thursday, March 19, 2020, a woman wearing a face mask poses with a blooming cherry blossom for a selfie at a park in Beijing, Chin...
In this photo taken Thursday, March 19, 2020, visitors, some with face masks for protection against the coronavirus, enjoy a sunny day at a park in Be...
\Visitors wearing protective face masks take a rest outside a shuttered souvenir shop on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for busine...
Security guards wearing protective face masks stand watch on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronav...
Visitors wearing protective face masks looks out from the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus ou...
In this photo taken March 22, 2020, a visitor wears a face mask as he stands in front of the shuttered Forbidden City in Beijing, China. While many of...
Visitors wearing face masks take photos of a primate exhibit at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the firs...
A visitor wearing a face mask takes a photo of blossoms at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first tim...
A Mexican hairless dog looks at a girl wearing a face mask at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first ...
Visitors wearing face masks look at a great bustard at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first time af...
Visitors wearing face masks look at a giant panda exhibit at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first t...
A giant panda slumps in an enclosure as visitors wearing face masks look on at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the publ...

A woman wearing a protective face mask visits the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus outbreak i...

Visitors wearing protective face masks walk on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus outbreak ...

A girl wearing a face mask rides a bicycle past a mural of giant pandas at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public f...

Visitors wearing protective face masks take a rest as they visit the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new cor...

A man and a child wearing protective face masks look back as they walk on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following th...

Visitors wearing protective face masks walk on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus outbreak ...

In this photo taken Thursday, March 19, 2020, visitors enjoy a sunny day at a park in Beijing, China. While many of the city's world-famous tourist si...

In this photo taken Thursday, March 19, 2020, a woman wearing a face mask poses with a blooming cherry blossom for a selfie at a park in Beijing, Chin...

In this photo taken Thursday, March 19, 2020, visitors, some with face masks for protection against the coronavirus, enjoy a sunny day at a park in Be...

\Visitors wearing protective face masks take a rest outside a shuttered souvenir shop on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for busine...

Security guards wearing protective face masks stand watch on the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronav...

Visitors wearing protective face masks looks out from the Badaling Great Wall of China after it reopened for business following the new coronavirus ou...

In this photo taken March 22, 2020, a visitor wears a face mask as he stands in front of the shuttered Forbidden City in Beijing, China. While many of...

Visitors wearing face masks take photos of a primate exhibit at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the firs...

A visitor wearing a face mask takes a photo of blossoms at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first tim...

A Mexican hairless dog looks at a girl wearing a face mask at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first ...

Visitors wearing face masks look at a great bustard at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first time af...

Visitors wearing face masks look at a giant panda exhibit at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the public for the first t...

A giant panda slumps in an enclosure as visitors wearing face masks look on at the Beijing Zoo after it reopened its outdoor exhibit areas to the publ...

BEIJING (AP) —

Beijing's city zoo and parts of the Great Wall of China have reopened to visitors who book in advance, as the Chinese capital slowly returns to normal amid a sharp fall in the number of new coronavirus cases.

While many of the city’s world-famous tourist sites, including the sprawling Forbidden City ancient palace complex, remain closed, spring weather and budding cherry blossoms are coaxing citizens outdoors after they have been largely confined to their homes for the last two months.

Authorities are limiting access to avoid crowds that might lead to further cross-infections, although they say restrictions will be loosened as long as the virus remains at bay.

Travel in and out of the city of more than 20 million remains tightly controlled, including mandatory two-week quarantines to everyone arriving from abroad and those who have been in foreign countries in the last 14 days. However, public transport continues to operate and many offices have reopened, albeit with strict temperature checks and registration requirements that appear to have contributed to the containment of the outbreak that has sickened more than 81,000 people and killed over 3,200 in the country.

Travel and tourism are major employers in Beijing, and like all service industries, have been hard-hit by the outbreak and accompanying closure orders. Schools, including famed institutions such as Peking University, remain closed, and authorities say it may be weeks or longer before students can return to classrooms.

The Chinese government says work has restarted on about 90% of major public construction projects across the country, excluding Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in December. While many migrant workers remain trapped by travel bans, industrial production has also returned to action, including in the crucial auto manufacturing industry, which is largely based in Wuhan, and in businesses that provide critical links in global supply chains.

Despite the hardship, the outbreak has had at least one upside for Beijing: The slowdown in industrial activity has banished the city's notorious pollution, leaving cobalt skies that reveal the surrounding dramatic mountain landscapes.