Thousands of partygoers packed a water park for the weekend in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged late last year, eager to party as the city’s edges return to normal life. The popular Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park was packed with people wearing swimsuits and goggles for an electronic music festival, many perched on rubber dinghies or wading to their chests in water.
The water park reopened in June after Wuhan gradually opened after a 76-day lockdown and strict restrictions to try and control the spread of the virus. The park — which local media say has capped attendance at 50 percent of normal capacity — offers half price discounts for female visitors.
An actor in a stage display in front of the water smiled to the audience, crowded tight and waving his arms around, clicking images of phones in plastic pouches around his waist. Another artist on a water jet platform amazed his crowd by floating above them with sparks flying off his leg.
Many of the audience wore life jackets, but none of the closely packed partygoers were seen wearing face masks as a DJ with neon yellow headphones played on stage. The first confirmed reports of COVID-19 appeared in Wuhan late last year, a city of 11 million residents, until the epidemic exploded across the country, destroying hundreds of thousands and devastating economies.
The lockout was removed in April, and no new instances of domestic transmission have been officially identified in Hubei Province, where Wuhan has been the capital since mid-May. In an attempt to improve the local economy, the Hubei government has provided free entry to 400 tourism spots throughout the province.
China has increasingly put its domestic disease under control, but occasional incidents and extreme summer flooding have aggravated economic repercussions.