Chinese pray at temples on Lunar New Year.

BEIJING (AP), -- Chinese people celebrated the Lunar New Year despite the pandemic restrictions. Small crowds of Chinese people gathered at temples to pray for the Year of the Tiger.

Chinese pray at temples on Lunar New Year.

Many people offered prayers at the Lama Temple, Beijing, before the Tibetan Buddhist site's ornate west gate. It was closed due to pandemic restrictions.

Wang Ying, an accountant, stated that praying outside the temple is better than lighting incense at home.

After finishing her devotions, she stated that sincerity was more important than burning incense sticks.

Wang said that she was looking forward to Friday's opening ceremony for the Beijing Winter Olympics. Beijing residents took photographs outside the Games displays in central Tiananmen Square to mark the occasion.

China has increased its restrictions on pandemics ahead of the Olympics. Tuesday's report by the National Health Commission showed 27 new cases reported locally in the last 24 hours, with two of them in Beijing and seven in Hebei province.

To prevent cross-infection, participants in the Games are kept away from the public. They are housed in secure hotels, and they can only travel in specially designed vehicles to get them to the venues or other Olympic facilities.

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According to Beijing organizers, there had been 272 positive tests among the more than 10,000 people who arrived at the Games. Of the 67 positive cases, 67 were either athletes or team officials. All positive cases are admitted to the designated hospital or hotel.

Zhao Weidong, spokesperson for the organizing group, stated that COVID-19 prevention is still a priority.

He stated that "Everything is under Control" at a press conference. "Without safe Games, there wouldn't be Games."

The most important annual holiday in China is the Lunar New Year. Also known as the Spring Festival. Each year is named after one of the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac. This year was the Year of the Tiger.

This holiday saw fewer people returning to their homes for traditional family gatherings. China's strict pandemic policies can result in the rapid lockdown of cities and towns, as well suspension of travel where coronavirus clusters are identified.

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Liu Yuetong decided to stay in Beijing for the event her hometown was struck by a sudden epidemic. Her return to work at an advertising agency was also delayed.

After her prayers outside of the Lama Temple, she stated that this was the first time she had celebrated the Spring Festival in Beijing by herself. "I feel lonely. Thanks to technology, I was able to video call my family almost every single day.

Wong Tai Sin Temple was Hong Kong's largest Taoist Temple. However, people came together to offer prayers and burn incense sticks at the smaller temples that were still open.

Eric Lee, a Man Mo Temple visitor, said, "I hope this year is like the tiger. Very energetic." "I hope that the Year of Tiger will bring prosperity to the economy and all careers."

In January, Hong Kong saw a spike in coronavirus-related cases. Officials have advised the public to avoid large crowds. Schools have been closed and restaurants are prohibited from serving food after 6 p.m.

As the pandemic entered its third year, the number of people who visited the Longshan Temple in Taipei (the capital of Taiwan) was much lower. The temple was built by Settlers from Southern China in the eighteenth Century to honor Buddha. There are also altars to Taoist deities.

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