CHINESE People living in the UK are reporting that they are facing shocking levels of “hatred” following the outbreak of Coronavirus that has been exaggerated by the media.
China’s ambassador to the UK condemned “hatred” against Chinese people claiming abuse had even been reported at primary schools.
Speaking at a press conference in London, Liu Xiaoming said: “I think the general public is very supportive. There are some cases of hatred, discrimination, against Chinese nationals.
“I think there are many reasons for it. Lack of understanding of the epidemic. Of course, there is also some deep-seated racism. Not only in this country, but anywhere.
“I think in a crisis like this countries should stand together.”
The comments came as York University – where one of the confirmed UK cases studied – issued a statement condemning reports “from students and staff of abuse and racism” since the outbreak.
There were also reports that a woman had been verbally and physically abused at Sheffield University for wearing a face mask.
Mr Liu added that the Chinese embassy had received similar reports from universities “and even in some middle schools and primary schools”.
“People should realise that we have a common enemy of mankind. We should say ‘no’ to discriminatory words and behaviour,” he said.
There have been several reports of verbal and physical abuse against east Asian residents in Britain in recent weeks, despite only three cases of the virus being reported in the UK.
On Wednesday Health Secretary Matt Hancock condemned “racism and insensitivity” aimed at Chinese and east Asian people, adding: “None of these attempts to dehumanise an entire ethnicity should be allowed to prevail.”
A number of British Asian people have reported hostile treatment in public since the virus prompted international news coverage.
MiMi Aye, a Burmese food writer from London, posted photos from a journey on the Tube on Tuesday which showed people opting to stand rather than take the seats next to her.
On the Central line just now.
Standing room only, except … pic.twitter.com/hZwAalbE7u
— MiMi Aye (@meemalee) February 4, 2020
“I got on to the Victoria line at Highbury and Islington and was on my way to Oxford Circus. Platform was full, carriage was full,” she told the PA news agency.
“I noticed that no-one had sat down either side of me and I thought, ‘Huh, that’s weird’… I decided to take photos of the empty seats around me.
“People around me looked very uncomfortable and wouldn’t catch my eye.
“I’m not going to say that it was definitely because of racism. Because most of the time when stuff happens I never know for sure.”
CHINESE FOOD PLACES FACE DOWNTURN
CHINESE restaurants and takeaway owners have voiced concern after seeing a sharp drop in footfall in London’s Chinatown following the Coronavirus outbreak.
One local said: “As you can see this street is getting quieter than before, just because of the virus.”
“I don’t think that the situation is that severe but people worry,” said Ocean, a local business operator.
“The coronavirus actually does affect our business quite badly,” said a shop owner, while another one complained that “the restaurants are completely empty.”
HOW MANY CASES OF CORONAVIRUS ARE IN THE UK?
ONLY three cases have been confirmed in the UK – the latest from a person – the first British person thought to be infected had come back from Singapore.
The patient was diagnosed after falling ill in Brighton and has been transferred to a specialist isolation unit at Guy’s Hospital in London according to the BBC.
The unnamed patient – a man thought to be in his late 40’s or early 50’s – went to A&E at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton suffering a cough and fever, earlier this week reported The Sun.
The Government has warned people not to travel to China.
The official advise is against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao).
The Foreign Office added: “The British Consulates-General in Wuhan and Chongqing are currently closed. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so.”
People who have travelled to other locations have also been told to self-isolate if they have come back from countries including Thailand and Japan.
The official list of countries include:
- Republic of Korea
- Hong Kong
The coronavirus outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Close to 500 hundred have died and more than 24,000 people have been infected with the respiratory disease which originated in the Wuhan city in China.
The UK Government has launched a UK-wide public information blitz advising Brits on how to slow the spread of coronavirus and reduce the impact on NHS services.
The government-funded campaign includes public health advice on how people can protect themselves from infection.
The campaign will promote important hygiene practices, such as regularly washing hands and always sneezing into a tissue, to stem the spread of viruses.
The campaign advises the public to:
- always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs and sneezes, and bin the tissue
- wash hands with soap and water, or use sanitiser gel, to kill germs
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our highly trained and experienced clinicians are working round the clock to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the UK.”
“The government has detailed plans for how to deal with an outbreak like this. We can all play our part.”
“Basic hygiene such as washing our hands regularly and using tissues when we cough and sneeze can play an important role in minimising the spread of viruses like this. Today we have launched a UK-wide public information campaign to help the public protect themselves and each other.”
“Our world-class NHS is well prepared and we are doing everything we can to protect the public.”
People who have travelled back from the Hubei province in China within the last 14 days are being asked to:
- stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
- call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the city
- if you are in Northern Ireland, call your GP
Anyone who has travelled from anywhere else in China (not including Macao or Hong Kong) to the UK in the last 14 days and develops symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath should immediately self-isolate, even if symptoms are minor, and call NHS 111.
The UK is extremely well prepared for any potential outbreak of an infectious disease – we are one of the first countries in the world to have developed a test for the new virus.
On Friday 31 January 2020, 2 patients in England, who are members of the same family, tested positive for coronavirus.
They are receiving specialist NHS care and we are using tried and tested infection control procedures to prevent further spread of the virus.
The government is already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had to prevent further spread, and are in close contact with the World Health Organization and the international community as the outbreak in China develops to ensure the UK is ready for all eventualities.
Coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild. For further information on coronavirus, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Additional Reporting by Ruptly and PA Media