WUHAN, China (Reuters) – Men and women in Wuhan danced again in masks and a distance of about one meter on a Saturday evening on the banks of the Yangtze River, which winds its way through the central Chinese city where the novel coronavirus pandemic began.
Wuhan’s 76-day ban ended on April 8, and the city is slowly recovering in hopes that the worst is over, but worried about the appearance of some new cases of the virus in the past week.
While most large indoor gatherings are still prohibited, people are demanding back their daily lives and hobbies, which include square dance or mass dancing in many parts of China, usually in the evening in public places, squares or parks.
On Saturday evening, over a hundred masked people danced on an open-air river path in central Wuhan, while speakers broadcast everything from electronic dance music to Japanese pop.
Some rolled in pairs. Others moved in sync with choreographed dance routines. All of them wore masks and were largely kept apart.
Nevertheless, worries about the virus remain.
“I still feel a bit limited (dancing) with a mask, I don’t feel so free, and I’m a little afraid of cross infection,” said Fang Yuanyuan, 50.
COVID-19 first met Wuhan late last year and became the epicenter of the outbreak in China, which accounted for approximately 80% of the country’s coronavirus cases. The strict blocking, however, helped to suppress new infections and to relax the restrictions on movement.
However, last week the city reported its first cluster of new infections since the blockade was lifted, fueling fears of a second wave and prompting the authorities to launch a campaign to test all 11 million people for the corona virus.
Mainland China reported five new confirmed COVID-19 cases on May 16, compared to eight the previous day, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement on Sunday.
Reporting by Xihao Jiang and Brenda Goh; Edited by Simon Cameron-Moore