Saying I love you with face masks, goggles and sanitisers

Love in the time of an epidemic: Newlyweds taking a picture with their marriage certificates that they just received in front of the civil affairs bureau in Chaoyang district, Beijing. — China Daily/ANN

Beijing: With shops closed and theatres empty due to the Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak, lovers have been exchanging face masks and sanitisers on Valentine’s Day rather than letters and chocolates as tokens of love.

On Weibo, the top three searched Valentine’s gifts this year are masks, goggles and alcohol wipes. But despite the dire circumstances, people have found unexpected ways to express their love.

At a Shanghai grocery store, people can order online a bouquet made of fresh produce and either pick it up or have it delivered to their sweethearts’ homes, so that their loved ones don’t need to go outside to buy groceries.This unorthodox gift was surprisingly popular, and the store has sold over 50 batches since Tuesday, said the store owner.

A costumer surnamed Liu said her husband is tackling the epidemic in Shanghai, but he still prepared her a “surprise”.

“I didn’t expect a hilarious bouquet of vegetables. Now I believe sending roses and flowers are super lame. Sending your loved one produce, now that is true love, ” she said.

Zhou Zongkui, a psychology professor at Central China Normal University, said that during an outbreak people can feel anxious and sad due to staying at home for too long.

“The psychological aftermath of a long period of quarantine can be a tricky issue, ” he said.

Zhou said it is important to keep an optimistic outlook and eliminate negative public sentiment.

Recent photos and footage of medical staff showing romance have tugged the heartstrings of the public.

One example is a video showing Chen Ying, a nurse at the Fourth Hospital of the Zhejiang University School of Medicine, kissing her boyfriend against the glass separating the hospital and the outside world.

Liu Haiyan, a flower vender in Beijing, said she has been spraying her flowers with rubbing alcohol before putting them in elegant transparent boxes to avoid contamination during shipping. And thanks to her precautions, she said her sales have even risen.

“We should quarantine the disease, not love, ” Liu said. — China Daily/ANN

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