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Couples in China separated by coronavirus quarantines get creative on Valentine’s Day


Amid the coronavirus outbreak, lovebirds in China have set their hearts on celebrating Valentine’s Day in novel ways.

In Beijing, Rose Liu, 18, watched “Titanic” alone on her bed – but shared the viewing with her boyfriend 60 miles away on the Weiguang app, which allowed them to chat, the South China Morning Post reported.

Later, they planned to play a game online with hopes of winning a virtual hot air balloon ride that would feature romantic scenes of meteor showers and auroras, she told the outlet.

The couple had planned to spend their first Valentine’s Day together in a Beijing bar, where Liu wanted to pull out a set of engraved couple rings she had commissioned for the day.

But her beau, who returned to his hometown for the Lunar New Year, was unable to return after his village was locked down as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

And while Weiguang allowed them to enjoy the blockbuster romance flick together, the experience paled in comparison to a real movie date.

“The cinema has a bigger screen and better environment, and we can hold hands,” Liu told the South China Morning Post.

Liu and her boyfriend were among the many couples forced to move their romance online as they were separated by quarantine efforts to contain the outbreak, which has killed almost 1,383 people and infected more than 64,000.

Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated in China, where couples traditionally give flowers and chocolate to each other, and enjoy movie dates and candlelit dinners for the occasion.

On Friday, the top trending hashtag on the country’s social media site Weibo was #Valentine’sDay — with about 12 million posts gathering more than 5.5 billion views.

Creative couples resorted to video calling each other during dinner, sending gifts of digital money, singing together on popular karaoke app Quanmin K Ge — and even flying drones to greet each other.

Kevin Lin, 21, from Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, was forced to cancel plans to join his girlfriend in Hangzhou for shopping and a dinner as the health situation worsened and their school semester was postponed.

Instead, they had a virtual “double date” with friends to play the popular “Honor of Kings” game in which two teams of five players each fight each other.

“Four of us plus another random player formed a team,” Lin told the news site. “When we were playing the game, we talked on the phone about the strategy. It’s a lot of fun.”

And instead of chocolates or flowers, Lin spent the equivalent of $18 — a figure popular among couples for sounding like a saying meaning “forever” in Chinese — to buy Valentine’s Day costumes for two characters in the game.

Other couples ordered presents online ahead of time so they would reach their loved ones on time.

Searches for masks, goggles and antiseptic wipes proliferated on the delivery app Meituan, where there were “quite a few” requests for orders to go with romantic messages. Although the more traditional gifts of chocolate remained popular, people ordered it mostly online.

In Thailand, about 3,000 students gathered Friday in Ayutthaya province to send Valentine’s Day well-wishes to China.

“China keep fighting,” students and teachers of Jirasat Wittaya School chanted, as they stood with a pair of elephants in a heart formation, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Pornhub did not miss the opportunity to target people cooped up at home.

On Friday, the world’s largest adult video website — which is blocked in the country but can be accessed through virtual private networks — featured a special offer in Chinese for free access to premium content for Valentine’s Day.