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Covid epicentre Wuhan reopens nightclubs – and there’s not a mask in sight

The "ground zero" of the coronavirus pandemic is back to normal life, with nightclubs reopening and the city centre thronged with cooped-up young partiers.

Wuhan, in China's Hubei province, hasn't reported a new locally transmitted case of Covid-19 since May 10.

The city went into an incredibly strict lockdown in January after the novel coronavirus outbreak was linked to one of its wet markets, although it had killed just 17 people at that point.

For 11 weeks residents were confined to their homes or apartment complexes and were forbidden from travelling outside of Wuhan, with military roadblocks preventing any entry or exit.

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The restrictions began to ease in March with the reopening of public transport and shopping malls, and the lockdown was lifted in April.

It was temporarily reinstated in May after a small outbreak, which was quickly contained.

Now you wouldn't know that Wuhan had ever been plagued with a disease that saw large gatherings banned.

  • Clubbers cram together and kiss in coronavirus epicentre Wuhan – with zero new cases

Its nightlife is back in full swing, with photos showing young people dancing, crowd-surfing and scoffing food from street stalls.

There wasn't a mask in sight as partygoers joyfully celebrated the night with games involving toy machine guns and balloons.

  • Wuhan launches tourism campaign 10 months after being coronavirus epicentre

"After experiencing the first wave of epidemic in Wuhan and then the liberation, I feel like I'm living a second life," reveller Zhang Qiong told Reuters.

Back in August the world was stunned by images of packed pool parties at the Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park.

  • Wuhan pool party with hundreds crammed close sparks Covid-19 second wave fears

Now as New Year's Eve celebrations are scrapped and Brits are told to hunker down for a tough winter, Wuhan's freedom seems even more unbelievable as we miss out on party season.

Coronavirus has killed more than 1.6 million people, with 3,000 of those deaths in Wuhan — although civilians have suggested the government has covered up the true number which could be as high as 42,000.

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  • The party photos come as 10 scientists from the World Health Organisation (WHO) prepare to travel to Wuhan in January to investigate what really happened at the end of 2019.

    It is believed SARS-CoV-2 make the fateful leap from animals to humans for the first time at one of the city's notorious wet markets, although conflicting evidence has since cast some doubt on this theory.

    A biologist on the team says the point of the trip isn't to point the finger at anyone, but to understand when the virus began circulating and whether it originated in Wuhan – or not.

    "It's really not about finding a guilty country," Fabian Leendertz of Germany's Robert Koch Institute told the Associated Press.

    "It's about trying to understand what happened and then see if, based on those data, we can try to reduce the risk in the future."

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