Hong Kong is battling a new outbreak of the corona virus that originates in one of the lesser-known pastimes of the wealthy – wealthy and older women who visit clubs to get dance lessons, often from young and handsome instructors.
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The eruption sparked a kind of fourth wave in the Asian financial capital, the worst in months, with 92 cases reported on Friday. The steep rise in the number of infections has been linked to dance clubs, according to government reports. Governor Carrie Lam expressed resentment towards the dancers for having “activities involving physical intimacy, without masks,” in the midst of an epidemic.
Following the eruption, an air corridor planned with Singapore was suspended and leading businesses, sports centers and prestigious clubs across the territory were temporarily closed. Hong Kong has also been forced to enforce stricter guidelines for social alienation. “This time, nature has taken a turn and the plague is spreading in the homes and villas of the city’s wealthy. It is not hard to imagine the panic they are feeling now,” wrote Chip Tsu, a well-known columnist in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has won praise for containing the plague, thanks to a combination of masking and social alienation measures, without a full closure being imposed on it. But the territory, which is a leading transport and cargo center, was forced to recapture new waves of the plague.
Restaurant in Hong Kong Photo: AFP
The latest outbreak, however, is the first to hit the local elite, especially businesswomen and affluent non-working women, known as the T-Ties. “The T-Ties are a very special community in Hong Kong. They have too much money and too much free time,” Tsu wrote. According to him, they tend to engage in leisure activities such as yoga, Chinese painting or dancing, with the latter being a source of attraction for dancers flocking to Hong Kong.
The discourse on social media and gossip columns refers to the age gaps between women and counselors. Commentators have also speculated that some are used as “ducks,” a Chinese-washed word for gigolo.
Dance classes are a thriving business in Hong Kong. Monica Wong, former head of HSBC’s private banking department in Hong Kong, paid Hong Kong $ 120 million (US $ 15.4 million) in 2004 for eight years of unlimited dance lessons. That engagement eventually ended in a lawsuit.
The outbreak has now led the government to require for the first time a corona test, for anyone who comes to these clubs during the month. In addition, the government ordered the closure of bars and saunas and the cancellation of live performances and dances in banquet halls.
Hong Kong has so far recorded 6,000 verified cases of corona and 108 deaths from the virus.
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