Online fitness classes are becoming a new trend in Beijing as the coronavirus outbreak continues across the country, forcing Chinese authorities to heavily limit public activities, including access to the city gyms.
Zhang Weiya, a 34-year-old fitness trainer who owns a gym in northeastern Beijing, said her business has suffered a lot and she was left with zero income since Beijing local sports bureau shut down the gyms in the city last month.
“One-tenth of the annual income is gone,” Zhang said adding that even though she cut the price for online classes in half, the fees help her stay afloat due to high interest.
“There are many participants online. Every class is full. You can’t even make appointments for next week,” she said.
One of the participants of Zhang’s classes is Zhang Kewei, an entrepreneur who wanted to lose weight after giving birth to her child and used to go to the gym every day.
The enforced shutdown started during the Lunar New Year – usually, the busiest time for most services businesses and according to most economists will accelerate an already-noticeable downturn before the outbreak.
Within China, authorities reported 2,009 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, down from more than 2,600 new cases the previous day.
The new cases brought the total to 68,500 in mainland China, with 1,665 deaths including 143 reported on Sunday. Outside China, more than 500 cases have been confirmed, mostly of people who travelled from Chinese cities, with five deaths.
The coronavirus, thought to have emerged at a wildlife market in the central province of Hubei, has presented the ruling Communist Party with a huge challenge.
(Production: Fang Nanlin, Malgorzata Wojtunik)