'Where 2020 started': Wild photos emerge from coronavirus epicentre

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

While the coronavirus pandemic rages on across the globe one year since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, the Chinese metropolis has long moved on from the most stringent COVID-19 lockdown to date.

On April 8, the city of 11 million residents were freed from draconian restrictions they had endured for 76 days after the virus ripped through the city.

Wuhan’s province Hubei has accounted for the majority of China’s 4764 deaths yet it has been seven months since the city has recorded a case of community transmission.

In stark contrast to the ever-increasing restrictions imposed as second and third waves rip through dozens of countries across the world, daily life in Wuhan has returned to an almost pre-Covid state.

People dance at a Wuhan nightclub, almost a year after the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
People dance at a Wuhan nightclub, almost a year after the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Hubei province. Source: Reuters

From people crowding onto a local ferry to take in the sights, to those dancing in street squares, its nightlife, a time when social distancing and precautionary measures can so often be forgotten, is also back in full swing.

Remarkable video shows nightclubs packed with carefree revellers – a scenario millions trapped in restrictions can only dream of.

There’s crowd surfing and even mosh pits Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young warned her state about.

Nightclubs and bars are packed with people without masks who later file into the city’s streets to chow down on street food in their droves.

"During the epidemic time Wuhan was really a dead city. But after it reopened, I had never seen so many people. Now people are all coming out to eat and have fun,” Wuhan resident Yi Yi said.

It’s revival is a glimpse into a post-pandemic world that many hope for in 2021 after the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

One recent video of revellers in a Wuhan clip is gaining traction on Twitter this week, with many users in envy of the original epicentre’s fate.

“Maybe we should all just move to Wuhan,” a comment, which would have seemed highly unlikely eight months ago, read.

Push to bring more people to Wuhan

And the city’s economy is on the rebound after being shut off completely from the rest of the world at the beginning of the pandemic.

While its tourism and hospitality sectors have suffered badly for obvious reasons, the city is pushing hard to win custom back.

Wuhan made global headlines once again when images and video of a pool party with hundreds of guests crammed close together at Maya Beach Water Park emerged, almost in a boastful manner.

Over Golden Week at the beginning of October, there were 18 million travellers welcomed into the city, enticed with travel vouchers.

There were even promotional videos released nationwide to attract visitors, boasting of its location on the world-famous Yangtze River.

And while residents and visitors are now free to lap up the city’s top tourist attractions, partygoers like Zhang Qiong are happy re-discovering Wuhan's nocturnal hotspots.

"After experiencing the first wave of epidemic in Wuhan and then the liberation, I feel like I'm living a second life,” he said.

“I just really want to cherish this time, because in life you never know when it will end."

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