Wuhan residents defend right to celebrate after ‘defeating virus’

Beijing, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the first cases of the Covid-19 pandemic were recorded, believe they have every right to organize large festivals such as the electronic music festival held this week at an open-air water park that brought together thousands of people.

Videos of the event, in which hundreds of residents could be seen dancing without a mask and without maintaining a safe distance from each other, have provoked criticism on social media.

Some users, especially in the west, question if it is legal and respectful for the city to be celebrating while the rest of the world still records thousands of cases every day.

“There is no lack of respect, we have every right to organize these activities because we have earned it. Wuhan has defeated the virus and regained confidence. And now our economy needs to recover,” Wuhan resident Chen Wenjie, a marketing manager for a technology company, told EFE.

He said people could not be blamed for wanting to have fun and that the rest of the world should take note of the comprehensive prevention measures taken in Wuhan to deal with the virus, including nearly 11 weeks of lockdown, mandatory use of masks and tracking apps, and even a massive testing campaign for all its residents.

“I hope the rest (of the world) beat the virus soon,” added Chu Jing, who works in administration and still remembers the worst moments of the coronavirus outbreak when “we were all scared and nobody knew what we were dealing with.”

Chen said there were still exhaustive controls in the city and that wearing a mask is still mandatory in a public space along with regular temperature checks and displaying health codes from mobile phone apps.

Moreover, in May, the city, one of the largest commercial, industrial and educational hubs in the central part of the country, conducted more than one million nucleic acid tests without finding any new confirmed cases except for some asymptomatic ones.

“It is one of the safest cities in China now,” said Chen.

“I hope other countries can reflect on how to do better” in the fight against Covid-19, he added.

The government and official media have also backed the organizers of the festival.

In an editorial, the Global Times newspaper cited netizens who described these activities as “proof of the city’s hard-worn victory over the coronavirus.”

“I guess it also rings a bell for some countries, which are still struggling to fight Covid-19 that without strict measures, the virus won’t be fended off. We fought hard. This is our payback,” Zhang Yong, the owner of a small taxi company in Wuhan, told the daily.

“There weren’t even many local people, not to mention tourists,” Zhang said of the time when the lockdown was lifted.

“But now my business is blooming with the city having fully recovered, and I survived.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also spoke about the matter on Thursday.

“It reflects a strategic victory achieved by Wuhan and the Chinese government in fighting the virus,” he said.

“It is said that in Western countries people were surprised when hearing about it. So through your reports and lens, I hope people in those countries can get to know what is actually happening in China, the efforts we made and the outcomes we achieved in defeating Covid-19.”

Since March, China has witnessed a significant drop in the local transmission of new coronavirus cases after drastic measures of prevention and restriction of the movement helped control the epidemic in many parts of the country.

However, several outbreaks have appeared in cities including capital Beijing, coastal area of Dalian (northeast), and the north-western region of Xinjiang, apparently already under control.

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