Wooo-han! Coronavirus Ground Zero learns to party again

Wooo-han! Coronavirus Ground Zero learns to party again

December 17, 2020

Wooo-han! Coronavirus Ground Zero learns to party again a year after millions were locked down at start of pandemic

  • Nightlife in Wuhan, China – where the coronavirus is believed to have originated – is now back in full swing
  • Seven months after China lifted one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, young party-goers are out celebrating
  • The resurgence of the city’s nightlife offers a glimpse to others what a post-pandemic world might look like
  • The city of 11 million was shut off from the rest of China in a surprise overnight lockdown beginning Jan 23 
  • But in a remarkable feat, Wuhan hasn’t reported a new locally transmitted case of the disease since May 10

Wuhan in China – Coronavirus Ground Zero – is learning how to party again almost year after millions were locked down at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Nightlife in the Wuhan is back in full swing almost seven months after the city lifted its stringent lockdown and the city’s young partygoers are embracing the catharsis.

In scenes unimaginable in many cities around the world reeling under a resurgence of the pandemic, young Wuhan residents during a recent night out crowd-surfed, ate street food and packed the city’s nightclubs as they looked to make up for lost time.

In pictures from the city’s nightlife, few people can be seen wearing masks, and social distancing looks to be a thing of the past as well.

People wearing face masks walk out of a ferry as they pass the Yangtze River at dusk, almost a year after the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China December 11, 2020

People dance at a park at night in Wuhan. Nightlife in the city is back in full swing almost seven months after the city lifted its stringent lockdown and the city’s young partygoers are embracing the catharsis

People dance at a Wuhan nightclub. In scenes unimaginable in many cities around the world reeling under a resurgence of the pandemic, young Wuhan residents during a recent night out crowd-surfed, ate street food and packed the city’s nightclubs as they looked to make up for lost time

Confetti and balloons fall down over a crowd partying at a nightclub in Wuhan. People can be seen not wearing masks and in very close proximity – something rendered dangerous by the coronavirus pandemic 

The revival of the city’s hard-hit nightlife economy offers a glimpse into a post-pandemic lifestyle that many hope will become a reality in 2021, after the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Wuhan hasn’t reported a new locally transmitted case of the disease since May 10, after undergoing one of the strictest lockdowns worldwide.

The city of 11 million was shut off from the rest of China in a surprise overnight lockdown beginning Jan 23, with road blocks erected and planes, trains and buses barred from entering the city. Almost 3,900 of China’s 4,634 recorded COVID-19 deaths occurred in the industrial city.

Students, musicians, artists and young workers – the backbone of the city’s nightlife scene – told stories of being stuck in their homes for months, many using the opportunity to prepare for a time when the city would recover. 

‘Some of my new music will definitely be about the pandemic time,’ said Wang Xinghao, frontman of Wuhan pop rock band Mad Rat, which drew a crowd of over 100 people to a local venue on a recent Wednesday night.

Wang flailed and jumped on stage, pulling crowd-surfing fans on stage, and at one point, tossed his faux leopard skin coat into the screaming audience.

People play with toy guns outside a bar at night in Wuhan. Wuhan hasn’t reported a new locally transmitted case of the disease since May 10, after undergoing one of the strictest lockdowns worldwide

Waitress’s stand at the entrance of a nightclub. The city of 11 million was shut off from the rest of China in a surprise overnight lockdown beginning Jan 23

Zhang Qiong, 29, wipes birthday cake off her face at a beer hall. ‘After experiencing the first wave of epidemic in Wuhan and then the liberation, I feel like I’m living a second life,’ said Zhang, 29, who works in a textiles shop in the central Chinese city that was the original epicentre of COVID-19

A girl dances at a nightclub in Wuhan. In pictures from the city’s clubs and bars, few people can be seen wearing masks, and social distancing looks to be a thing of the past as well

He said one of the new songs was inspired by the three months he spent living in close quarters with his mother.

In a crowded Wuhan beer hall, Zhang Qiong wiped birthday cake from her face after a food fight with her friends.

‘After experiencing the first wave of epidemic in Wuhan and then the liberation, I feel like I’m living a second life,’ says Zhang, 29, who works in a textiles shop in the central Chinese city that was the original epicentre of COVID-19. 

Many said the end of the lockdown has inspired larger turnouts.

People celebrate a birthday at a street restaurant at night in China’s city of Wuhan. China cut Wuhan off from the rest of the country in a surprise overnight lockdown beginning Jan 23, with road blocks erected and planes, trains and buses barred from entering the city. Almost 3,900 of China’s 4,634 recorded COVID-19 deaths occurred in the industrial city

People dance at a Wuhan nightclub. Students, musicians, artists and young workers – the backbone of the city’s nightlife scene – told stories of being stuck in their homes for months

‘During the epidemic time, Wuhan was really a dead city,’ said rock music enthusiast Yi Yi after the show. ‘Now people are all coming out to eat and have fun. I don’t think there were as many people before the epidemic.’

Despite the thriving night scene, Wuhan business and restaurant owners say it could still be some time before the surge in turnover makes up for massive losses during the lockdown.

But for patrons now flooding Wuhan’s nocturnal hotspots, the message is more straightforward.

People wearing face masks take a ferry as they pass the Yangtze River at dusk, almost a year after the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, December 11, 2020

People play the drums at a park in Wuhan. ‘Some of my new music will definitely be about the pandemic time,’ said Wang Xinghao, frontman of Wuhan pop rock band Mad Rat, which drew a crowd of over 100 people to a local venue on a recent Wednesday night

A snack vendor sells snacks outside a bar in Wuhan, China on December 11, as the city’s nightlife returns to life

‘I just really want to cherish this time, because in life you never know when it will end,’ said Zhang in the Wuhan beer hall. ‘Make every happy day count.’

A year into the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 1.6 million people and infected over 73 million globally, the question of where the virus came from and how it first crossed over to humans remains a mystery. 

It was announced on Wednesday that World Health Organisation (WHO) scientists will travel to Wuhan in January to investigate the origins of Covid-19 after months of negotiating with China for access.

A man opens a bottle of beer with his teeth at a street restaurant in Wuhan. Many said the end of the lockdown has inspired larger turnouts at venues

Despite the thriving night scene, Wuhan business and restaurant owners say it could still be some time before the surge in turnover makes up for massive losses during the lockdown

A woman drinks a bottle of beer at a street restaurant in Wuhan while her friend takes a selfie of the pair

People eat at a street restaurant in Wuhan at night on December 11, almost a year after the outbreak of the virus which has killed more than 1.6 million people and infected over 73 million globally

Scientists initially believed the killer virus jumped from animals to humans at a market selling exotic animals for meat in the city of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected late last year.

But experts now think the market may not have been the origin of the outbreak, but rather a place where it was amplified.

It is widely assumed that the virus originally came from bats, but the intermediate animal host that transmitted it between bats and humans remains unknown. 

A man drives a car outside a nightclub, almost a year after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan

People put cream from a birthday cake on each other at a beer hall. For patrons now flooding Wuhan’s nocturnal hotspots, the message is more straightforward. ‘I just really want to cherish this time, because in life you never know when it will end,’ said Zhang in the Wuhan beer hall. ‘Make every happy day count’

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