Florists in Vietnam have come up with a bizarre idea to put together their Valentine’s Day bouquets not with flowers but with face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer amid growing concerns over the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Gone are the days when a bouquet had to be made of real flowers.
Last year, bouquets of edible 'flowers' – made from chocolate-covered strawberries – emerged as popular gifts for Valentine’s Day in Vietnam.
This year, so-called 'health bouquets' are the new trend in the Southeast Asian country in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meant for people willing to go the extra mile to protect their loved ones from the disease, a health bouquet includes packs of medical masks and bottles of hand sanitizer arranged amid baby’s breath flowers.
|A bouquet of face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer is seen in this photo taken at a florist’s in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, February 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre|
Gift shops have also jumped on the bandwagon by giving face masks and hand wash gel as extra offerings for purchase.
Photos of these out-of-the-box but in-fashion alternative gifts for Valentine’s Day have whipped up a huge interest in netizens in Vietnam, as they are widely shared on social networks.
Valentine's Day is celebrated annually on February 14, originally to honor a Christian saint named Valentinus.
It has become a commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world including Vietnam, when people often gift flowers and chocolate to their loved ones.
The novel coronavirus disease, officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, has killed 1,112 people and infected nearly 44,800 globally since it first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, according to the South China Morning Post.
|A bouquet of face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer is placed next to flower bouquets in this photo taken at a florist’s in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, February 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre|
Vietnam has confirmed 15 cases of the virus, including 12 Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.
Among them, seven have fully recovered. They were all treated for free.
The latest confirmed infection is a three-month-old infant from the northern province of Vinh Phuc. The child is the youngest COVID-19 patient so far in Vietnam.
The WHO has declared the new coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
The organization said on Tuesday the first vaccine targeting the virus could be available in 18 months, according to Reuters.
|A sign promoting face masks as extra offerings for purchase is put up at a clothing store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, February 2020. Photo: Bong Mai / Tuoi Tre|