DISTURBING images have emerged showing swimmers in China’s former coronavirus epicentre crammed together for a massive pool party.
Hundreds of people can be seen packed shoulder-to-shoulder at a water park in the city of Wuhan where the killer Covid-19 pandemic began.
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The photographs taken over the weekend at Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park suggest the carefree swimmers have forgotten about the infection risk posed by close contact, despite living in the first place to be ravaged by the virus.
They can be seen standing cheek by jowl as they watch a performance while cooling down amid searing summer heat.
Others use inflatable rings and dinghies, but with little space to float about.
But these shocking scenes are a far cry from the strict lockdown which was imposed on the central Hubei province city on January 23, when the killer bug began spiralling out of control.
The draconian measures stopped the movement of Wuhan's 11million residents.
All public transport, including buses, railways, flights, and ferry services was suspended and movement outside homes was restricted.
The lockdown was lifted in April 8 — by which point the virus was ripping through western Europe and the United States.
Officially 3,000 perished in Wuhan from the airborne virus.
But those living there reportedly believe about 42,000 people died.
Others estimate more given the number of cremation urns being delivered to funeral homes.
So far the pandemic has killed more than 770,000 people globally, with the western world bracing itself for a second wave.
Scientists believe that Covid-19 first originated in bats before spreading to humans in Wuhan, possibly at one of the Chinese city's so-called wet markets.
Conspiracy theories about its origins persist however, with governments suggesting it may have come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab.
Officially, the total number of recorded Covid cases in China currently stands at 84,849, with 4,634 deaths.
But given the authoritarian nature of the regime, some have cast doubt on the statistics.
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