This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.
As of Tuesday morning, February 11, the official death toll of the coronavirus epidemic has exceeded 1,000. More than 43,000 people have been infected worldwide, including at least 460 outside mainland China.
People around the world are gearing up to fight the spread of the potentially deadly virus in their own ways. In Taiwan, TV producers are taking the steam out of kissing scenes.
In the Taiwanese drama serial Golden City, what was supposed to be an intense, passionate smooch between the male and female leads ended up as a gentle peck on the lips. The scene was supposed to signify a momentous end to the romantic turmoil that has plagued the star-crossed lovers. However, virus prevention efforts saw the production team whittling down any prolonged display of passion between actors.
Producer of Golden City, Louis Hsiao, said that they will now try to avoid shooting intimate scenes.
Mia Chiu, the female lead of the Golden City, isn’t complaining. According to Taiwanese news outlet United Daily News, she’s agoraphobic and has her qualms about intimate interactions with her co-stars.
Another drama by Taiwanese TV channel EBC, Sweet Family, is taking similar steps. EBC said that there are currently no “sugary” scenes in the script yet, but if such scenes arise, they will avoid overly intimate interactions.
Other precautions they are taking include avoiding filming at crowded places, sharing information about virus prevention in production crew chat groups and during filming, and preparing masks for crew members.
As the coronavirus threat encroaches on different aspects of social life, it seems like Taiwanese TV viewers are going to miss out on slobbery on-screen kisses for a while.
“When idol dramas are no longer passionate, are they still worth watching?” asked one person from the TV industry, Hong Kong Economic Times reported . Well, maybe it’s time for some shows to stop relying on saucy scenes to spice things up, and actually attract viewers with good storylines for a change.
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