In this picture taken on Feb. 22, 2020, a man takes a selfie with his baby along a hiking trail. Remote hiking trails are offering Hong Kongers an open-air escape from the coronavirus fears that have engulfed the densely-populated city and triggered the closure of public facilities and schools. (AFP/Vivek Prakash)
Hong Kongers are escaping the coronavirus anxiety that has gripped the crowded city by heading for the hills to find fresh air and space to exercise.
While the financial hub is known for soaring skyscrapers and cramped housing blocks, its steep mountains and remote hiking trails offer welcome relief from the COVID-19 fears, which triggered the closure of public facilities.
On a narrow nature trail that winds up to High Junk Peak, overlooking the turquoise shoreline of Clear Water Bay, hikers form a queue on the steep and rocky path up to the summit.
"I've been staying at home for too long. Going out hiking, I think everyone shares the same thought -- that is to breathe some fresh air, make ourselves comfortable, enjoy the breeze and the view," 26-year-old Sadie Lam tells AFP.
In this picture taken on March 1, 2020, people stop for a break on a hiking trail near a waterfall in the Tseung Kwan O area of Hong Kong. (AFP/Yan Zhao)
Over the past weekends, long, snaking lines of people have been seen on popular trails like Lion Rock and Dragon's Back.
However, the sudden increase of walkers has left a trail of rubbish behind, including surgical masks and hand wipes, and environmental group Greenpeace is urging people to "hike without trace".
Some 101 patients have tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong, two of whom have died.
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