The DJs are full of adrenaline, the music is deafening and the young people prepare to experience a night of partying. This disco of Wuhan, Chinese city considered the cradle of the covid-19 pandemic, it now symbolizes regained freedom as the rest of the world closes in and confines itself.
One year after being quarantined the January 23, 2020, this metropolis of 11 million inhabitants, where the first cases of covid-19 arose, has ceased to be the ghostly city that then astonished the rest of the world.
And while much of the planet imposes curfews, confinements and social distance, in Wuhan the nightlife is at its peak.
To enter the “Super Monkey” (Super Mono), a huge nightclub in the city center, it is not necessary to be on a VIP list and there are no clothing requirements. But the mask is mandatory and the guards at the entrance control the temperature of the customers: above 37.3 degrees, they are not admitted.
Months of confinement
Inside, a deafening atmosphere reigns, with laser beams and smoke, while the young -Mostly in their 20s- they release all their energy on the dance floor.
Others are mere spectators, happy to gather around a drink, after the grim quarantine of a year ago, when what was then a mysterious virus appeared.
“I have been locked up for two or three months. The country has coped well with the epidemic, now I can leave with absolute peace of mind, “a client, in his 30s, who says his name is Xu, told AFP.
In this environment, which has little to do with the austerity officially advocated by the communist regime, Chen Qiang, a young man in his 20s, rejoices that China has practically controlled the epidemic in his territory, and this despite the outbreaks emerged in the last days.
“ The Chinese government is good. The Chinese government does everything for its people and the people are supreme. It is different from foreign countries ”he assures.
The Chinese media cover in detail the difficulties of Western countries in the face of the pandemic, which contrasts with the return to normality in China. They see in this unequivocal proof of the superiority of the Chinese authoritarian model.
The authority, however, it is not respected everywhere.
In the Super Monkey, although it is mandatory, the customers they do not always wear a mask or hesitate to light a cigarette. There is also no rule about social distance.
Chen Qiang acknowledges, however, that the pandemic has changed things. In discotheques “there are fewer people than before the epidemic” he notes, and ensures that in general terms people “go out less and spend less”.
The very strict protocol applied in some places does not help either: limited clientele, mandatory reservation and presentation of an application with a green code, synonymous with good health, although it is not always enough to enter.
Thus, several AFP journalists could not enter the club “Imhan” Because his health code indicated an origin in Beijing, where a source of contagion of the English variant of covid-19 was discovered in the southern area of the Chinese capital.
Wuhan it was cut off from the world for 76 days between January and April. After a massive detection campaign in the spring, normal life gradually regained its course.
Last summer, images of a mega-party in a crowded water park generated surprise and misunderstanding in part of Internet users from the rest of the world, where the coronavirus has caused two million deaths and one hundred million infected.
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