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In pictures: Hearts, flowers and masks — Valentine's Day in the time of coronavirus

The new disease has infected nearly 64,000 people and killed more than 1,350 in China.

Updated 14 Feb, 2020 08:38pm

Annually February 14 marks Valentine's Day — the official day of love.

Flowers, balloons and hearts in red and pink are the usual gifts shared on the occasion. This year, however, in the midst of the spread of coronavirus, masks were also added to the list of Valentine's Day gifts in some countries.

The new disease has infected nearly 64,000 people and killed more than 1,350 in China, triggering transport restrictions, restaurant shutdowns, and the closure of major tourist sites.

Businesses around the country from florists to concert halls closed shop and axed events, leaving couples with no choice but to spend the night in.

In Hong Kong, flower markets are lamenting dismal Valentine's Day sales as the city battles the deadly coronavirus outbreak, with admirers joking that a box of face masks is a better way to say “I love you” than a bouquet.

In Pakistan, people took to Twitter to post both in support and against the occasion. While some in the country celebrate it similarly to other countries, others see Valentine’s Day as a western concept which is contrary to Islamic culture.

Here, we take a look at Valentine's Day celebrations around the world.

A shop offers a Valentine's Day flower arrangement, centre, which they called "anti-nCoV bouquet" in Alabang, metropolitan Manila, the Philippines on Thursday. — AP
A shop offers a Valentine's Day flower arrangement, centre, which they called "anti-nCoV bouquet" in Alabang, metropolitan Manila, the Philippines on Thursday. — AP

A girl arrives to school wearing a protective mask on Valentine's Day in Ayutthaya, outside Bangkok, Thailand on  February 14. — Reuters
A girl arrives to school wearing a protective mask on Valentine's Day in Ayutthaya, outside Bangkok, Thailand on February 14. — Reuters

Special bouquets of flowers, including one with bottles of alcohol and an N95 mask, are sold in a flower market following confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, a day before Valentines Day in Manila, Philippines on February 13. — Reuters
Special bouquets of flowers, including one with bottles of alcohol and an N95 mask, are sold in a flower market following confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, a day before Valentines Day in Manila, Philippines on February 13. — Reuters

A man holds a bouquet of roses as he leaves a flower shop in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province on February 14. — AFP
A man holds a bouquet of roses as he leaves a flower shop in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province on February 14. — AFP

Vendors selling heart-shaped balloons wait for customers on Valentine's Day at a flower market in Manila on February 14. — AFP
Vendors selling heart-shaped balloons wait for customers on Valentine's Day at a flower market in Manila on February 14. — AFP

A bouquet of roses being sold with a face mask is seen at a florist on Valentine's Day, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Shanghai, China on February 14, 2020. — Reuters
A bouquet of roses being sold with a face mask is seen at a florist on Valentine's Day, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Shanghai, China on February 14, 2020. — Reuters

A woman selling roses looks for customers on the eve of Valentine's Day in New Delhi. — AFP
A woman selling roses looks for customers on the eve of Valentine's Day in New Delhi. — AFP

Women selling roses wait for customers on the eve of Valentine's Day in New Delhi on February 13. — AFP
Women selling roses wait for customers on the eve of Valentine's Day in New Delhi on February 13. — AFP

Men stand underneath red balloons arranged to read in English "LOVE" as people shop for Valentine's gifts at a shopping mall in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on February 13. — AFP
Men stand underneath red balloons arranged to read in English "LOVE" as people shop for Valentine's gifts at a shopping mall in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on February 13. — AFP

Love deposit boxes are seen in the Love Bank, an exhibition dedicated to the world's longest love poem "Marina" by Andrej Sladkovic, in Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia on February 12. — Reuters
Love deposit boxes are seen in the Love Bank, an exhibition dedicated to the world's longest love poem "Marina" by Andrej Sladkovic, in Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia on February 12. — Reuters

In Saudi Arabia's past, religious police once swooped down on rose sellers and anyone peddling red paraphernalia around Valentine's Day, but now a more open — albeit risky — dating culture is taking root. A picture taken on January 31 shows young Saudis gathering at the Riyadh Season Boulevard in the Saudi capital.  — AFP
In Saudi Arabia's past, religious police once swooped down on rose sellers and anyone peddling red paraphernalia around Valentine's Day, but now a more open — albeit risky — dating culture is taking root. A picture taken on January 31 shows young Saudis gathering at the Riyadh Season Boulevard in the Saudi capital. — AFP

An elderly Palestinian walks past a shop decorated for Valentine's day in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on February 13. — AFP
An elderly Palestinian walks past a shop decorated for Valentine's day in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on February 13. — AFP

A Kuwaiti man holds a heart-shaped balloon outside a shop in Kuwait City on February 13 ahead of Valentine's Day. — AFP
A Kuwaiti man holds a heart-shaped balloon outside a shop in Kuwait City on February 13 ahead of Valentine's Day. — AFP

People pose for a selfie under heart-shaped balloons displayed on the eve of Valentine's Day in downtown Moscow on February 13. — AFP
People pose for a selfie under heart-shaped balloons displayed on the eve of Valentine's Day in downtown Moscow on February 13. — AFP

Women hold a teddy bear as they pose for a photograph inside a flower shop on Valentine's Day in Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday. — AP
Women hold a teddy bear as they pose for a photograph inside a flower shop on Valentine's Day in Kabul, Afghanistan on Friday. — AP

A vendor prepares a flower bouquet at a roadside stall ahead of Valentine's Day in Karachi on February 13.
A vendor prepares a flower bouquet at a roadside stall ahead of Valentine's Day in Karachi on February 13.

A vendor prepares a flower bouquet at a roadside stall ahead of Valentine's Day in Karachi on February 13. — AFP
A vendor prepares a flower bouquet at a roadside stall ahead of Valentine's Day in Karachi on February 13. — AFP


Header photo: Couples wait to sign their marriage certificates on Valentine's Day at the Bang-Rak district, translated as "District of Love", in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday. — AP