Wuhan pool party: why images of a post-lockdown festival at a water park have gone viral - and how the Chinese city recovered from coronavirus

Thousands of revellers were pictured attending a pool party at Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park

Online commenters have expressed shock at the large event.
Online commenters have expressed shock at the large event.

In the UK, where coronavirus is still very much a part of daily life, some have been surprised by photos of a pool party in Wuhan, China.

Videos and photos of closely-packed crowds at a pool party in the Chinese city have sent shockwaves through social media, with many in disbelief that Wuhan - once the epicentre of coronavirus - is back to business as usual.

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Stringent lockdown measures

When looking at the timeline of the coronavirus pandemic, however, it’s not that surprising that Wuhan has been the first city to return to normal.

The first case of Covid-19 was reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 - though authorities believe that cases could have been circulating from as early as November.

It wasn’t until late January that a lockdown was imposed on Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province, but the measures implemented were extremely strict: travel bans were levied, schools closed and citizens were commanded to remain within their homes.

Strict measures remained in place for several months, with a mass testing regime helping to keep track of any clusters of infections.

Lockdown measures began to ease in March, and by April 8, the lockdown was officially lifted in Wuhan - though precautionary measures like social distancing and mask-wearing remained in place.

Spike in cases

Wuhan’s progress looked briefly like it might have been reversed in early May, when six new virus cases were recorded.

This time around, however, the city was quick to act, with ambitious plans to test the entire population of 11 million people for the virus.

The fast response to this spike meant the outbreak was quickly brought under control.

No community transmission

Though some have expressed alarm on social media over the images of pool party-goers in Wuhan, the city has now reported no coronavirus cases since May, and around 9.9 million people have been tested for the virus.

Currently, the city does not have any bans in place on large gatherings.

The pool party was part of the HOHA Water Electrical Musical Festival which took place over the weekend at Maya Water Park.

The park reportedly sees around 15,000 visitors each weekend, with numbers reportedly only picking up in August.

The images are a far cry from the situation in many countries around the globe which are still fighting against coronavirus.

Countries which appeared to have the virus under control - such as New Zealand - have recently reported fresh cases, leading to renewed restrictions in some cases.

In the UK, cases have once again been rising, prompting local lockdowns in areas of particular concern.

Large gatherings are currently banned in the UK, and it may be some time before crowds like those seen in Wuhan will be allowed to gather in such close proximity.