In Wuhan, crowds return as coronavirus fears fade – The Washington Post

The stringent 76-day lockdown in Wuhan, China, which began in January, prefigured what much of the world would soon experience. The only gatherings in this new reality were lines outside overcrowded hospitals, with the city of 11 million seeing the majority of China’s 4,634 confirmed coronavirus deaths.

But life has returned to a relatively normal rhythm in Wuhan — the epicenter of the original novel coronavirus outbreak — which has not reported a new case since May. Bustling streets and boisterous festivities stand in sharp contrast to the months of silence and suffering.

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People visit a night market in Wuhan.

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Couples dance next to the Yangtze River.

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Couples pose for wedding photos next to East Lake.

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People visit the Yellow Crane Tower.

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Over the weekend, the Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park held an open-air electronic musical festival. Thousands of people packed the arena, few with face masks. Inflatable water tubes and bathing suits replaced protective gear.

The water park, which opened in June, receives a daily average of 15,000 visitors during weekends, according to Hubei Daily, a Communist Party newspaper. Still, that is half last year’s number. China’s government has relied on heavy surveillance and a mandatory contact tracing system to curb the spread of the virus.

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Wuhan is an epicenter of trade and travel. China’s retail sales dropped in July, but the city is working to revive consumer spending through events like last week’s Central China International Auto Show. After months of hardship, Wuhan residents are back to attending concerts and reveling in simple pleasures like manicures.

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An employee guides the audience at a cinema.

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Dancers perform on the Volkswagen stand at the Central China International Auto Show.

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In a move laden with symbolism, this month, workers dismantled Wuhan’s first makeshift hospital built to treat covid-19 patients in the outbreak’s early days. Across Wuhan, couples can now wed, families and friends dine together, and residents can look to the future with cautious optimism, now that, at least for the time being, the coronavirus is not squeezing life out of the city.

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Workers demolish installations at a makeshift hospital in Wuhan to treat the coronavirus.

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