Chinese revelers crowd into Wuhan water park


Beijing (AFP)

Thousands of revelers packed a water park this weekend in central China’s Wuhan city, where the coronavirus first appeared late last year, eager to party so that the city resumes its normal life.

The popular Wuhan Maya Beach water park was packed with people frolicking in swimsuits and sunglasses for an electronic music festival, many perched on rubber dinghies or wading up to their chests in the water.

The water park reopened in June after Wuhan gradually opened after a 76-day lockdown and strict restrictions to try to control the spread of the virus.

The park – which local media reports have capped attendance at 50% of normal capacity – is offering half-price reductions to female visitors.

An artist in a waterfront stage show waved to the crowd, squeezed and waved his arms back, some photos taken on phones protected in plastic sleeves around their necks.

Another performer on a water jet entertained his audience by hovering over them with sparks shooting behind his back.

Some of the crowd had donned life jackets, but none of the very tight revelers wore face masks as a DJ wearing bright yellow headphones performed on stage.

The first known cases of COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan late last year, a city of 11 million, before the virus spread across the world, killing hundreds of thousands of people and crippling economies.

The lockdown was lifted in April, and no new cases of national transmission have been officially reported in Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital, since mid-May.

In an attempt to boost the local economy, the Hubei government has offered free admission to 400 tourist sites across the province.

China has largely brought its domestic epidemic under control, but sporadic outbreaks and a summer of severe flooding have exacerbated the economic fallout.


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