Visibility across Beijing was severely limited by the smog on the second day of Lunar New Year, with the tops of the city's Beijing's tallest group of buildings in the east of the city almost completely covered by the haze.
The PM 2.5 level - which measures pollution - in the city's urban areas reached 239 micrograms per cubic meter according to state news agency Xinhua.
Local authorities had issued a yellow alert for heavy air pollution on Thursday. China has a colour-coded, four-tier warning system for air pollution, with red the most serious, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
"The air is horrible," said cosmetics sector worker Katie Li, 35, as she made her way to the gym."
"Starting the Lunar New Year with this kind of weather is a bit depressing," she added.
Staff at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in the north of Beijing said that they had received around 5,000 visitors on Saturday, a far cry from their usual daily capacity of 20,000 although they have capped numbers to around half of that due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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