In Brief

China dismisses anger at ‘huge Wuhan pool party’

Images should lead critics to ‘reflect on epidemic control in their own countries’, state media say

China has shrugged off criticism of a densely packed pool party that took place in Wuhan last Thursday.

Images showing thousands of people at a music festival, which took place at a water park in the city where the coronavirus outbreak began, drew criticism from news outlets around the world.

“Life’s a beach in Wuhan as world pays virus price,” said the Australian Daily Telegraph, while the Agence France Press news agency posted video of what it called the “Wuhan Wave”.

The footage sparked outrage on social media, The Guardian reports. One commentator described the festival as “a slap in the face to the rest of the world”, while another said: “The world still suffers while Wuhan parties.”

In China, however, the reaction was defiant.

The state-controlled Global Times dismissed foreign complaints as “sour grapes” and said “signs of a reviving society are everywhere”.

The event “should not only be seen as a sign of the city’s return to normalcy, but also a reminder to countries grappling with the virus that strict preventive measures have a payback”, the paper added.

After imposing a 76-day lockdown in January, the Chinese authorities started easing Wuhan’s restrictions in March, just as Europe began to bear the brunt of the virus.

“There have been no domestically transmitted cases in Wuhan or Hubei province since mid-May,” the BBC reports. In all, 9.9 million of the city’s 11 million-strong population have reportedly been tested for the virus.

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