Increase in Covid cases
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Covid Spreads Through China and Other Trending News

Soaring infections, questionable treatments, viral dance moves, medicine price gouging, and a meteorite spotted—it’s Viral Week
Viral Week is our weekly round-up of the weekend’s trending memes, humor, rumor, gossip, and everything else Chinese netizens are talking about.

Movie theater advertises separate screenings for Covid infected

After China dropped its strict ”zero-Covid” policy, a movie theater in Foshan, Guangdong province, put the labels “negative show” and “positive show” next to its list of movie screenings on December 15, in order to service all customers and “protect movie goers who have a negative Covid test,” a manager told Beijing News. The protocol invited debate: While some laughed that the marking system makes the cinema look haunted (as the characters for positive and negative, 阳 and 阴, also refer to the divide between the dead and living), other netizens expressed support. The separate screenings scheme was taken down just 10 minutes after it was advertised.

Woman with Covid drinks so much water she needs emergency hospitalization

Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital recently received an emergency patient suffering from water intoxication, with symptoms including muscle spasms and losing consciousness. The patient is among many in China who recently contracted Covid and resorted to drinking water to relieve from symptom. Doctor Yang Peng from the hospital warned the public that drinking too much in a short period of time would put them at risk of water poisoning.

Ibuprofen dance goes viral

With Covid spreading in China, the pain reliever Ibuprofen has been in high demand, and has even inspired a dance on social media. On the Chinese market, many brands carry this over-the-counter drug, but most share similar packaging featuring a red figure posing in different postures, signaling the drugs effectiveness at relieving various body pains. In the Ibuprofen dance invented by netizens, the dancer copies the various poses from these medicine boxes, putting them together into a choreography.

Singer criticized for claiming she deliberately caught Covid

Netizens criticized Chinese singer Jane Zhang after she wrote on Weibo that she caught Covid-19 on purpose in order not to impact her upcoming New Year’s performances. She also claimed to have recovered simply by sleeping, drinking water, and taking vitamin C; did strength exercises with dumbbells; and suggested the virus had made her slimmer and gave her better skin. After fierce criticism online, Zhang quickly apologized for “misleading people” to take the disease lightly.

Meteor spotted in Zhejiang province

At around 6 p.m. on December 15, residents from several parts of the eastern Zhejiang province, including Hangzhou, Jinhua, and Shaoxing, spotted a large meteor light up the sky. Three pieces of the meteorite, the biggest weighing over 1.5 kilograms, have since been found in Pujiang county and will be sent to various scientific organizations for analysis. Scientists Zheng Yongchun and Zhou Binghong told the media that the rock is 4.6 billion years old, roughly the same age as the Earth.

Collaboration between milk tea brand and mobile game ends after just three hours

The developers behind Light and Night, an interactive love and relationship-themed mobile game by Tencent, announced they would terminate their collaboration with milk tea chain Auntea Jenny, just three hours after they announced a marketing partnership, because staff at the latter apparently ”stole promotional products, spread false information, privately sold promotional products,” and insulted Light and Night players. Screenshots showed Auntea Jenny’s staff swearing at customers who inquired about the promotional products.

Insurance company refuses to compensate Covid-related costs, sparks debate

On December 15, a netizen surnamed Zheng alleged in a video online that China Life Insurance refused his application for compensation after he contracted Covid-19. Zheng had bought the company’s Covid-related insurance package in 2020 for less than 100 yuan per year, which apparently entitled him to up to 20,000 yuan if he became infected. However, the company claims that the Omicron variant he contracted is not Covid but a flu, which was not covered under the contract.

After netizens criticized the refusal, the company told China Banking and Insurance News that it has contacted Zheng and would grant him compensation. The company stated, however, that only policyholders who are infected with Omicron for the first time with severe or critical illness can be compensated. Given the changing pandemic-control policies, many companies, including food-delivery platform Meituan, have withdrawn Covid-related insurance products.

Authorities crack down on medicine price gouging

With demand for cold and flu medicine rocketing as Covid cases in China surge, authorities have been cracking down on price gouging that has seen the retail price of some remedies soar up to 6.5 times. In particular, Lianhua Qingwen, a traditional Chinese medicine that is used to treat many respiratory diseases, has seen high prices and short supplies. The Beijing municipal government has also begun dispatching officials to oversee production at certain drug producing companies. Companies can be fined up to 3 million yuan for price gouging, according to Chinese laws.

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