Call to action against Coronavirus xenophobia: Does the virus have a nationality?

 

Coronavirus-related xenophobia seems to be growing as Irish Mirror inappropriately labels Coronavirus, in a racist manner.

 

Their recent headline “China Virus at Dublin Airport” is quite misleading to the public and may prompt discrimination towards Chinese citizens who are living across Ireland.

 

Chinese people, especially from Wuhan are already in a vulnerable position with the news of the devastating virus, the spur of xenophobic sentiments may create further tensions.

 

Previously during the SARS and Ebola outbreak, a fearmongering pattern of alienating and stigmatising culture spread across media.

 

In the wake of Coronavirus, that pattern reappears as a French outlet used “Yellow Alert” to describe the outbreak and the hashtag #ChineseDon’tComeToJapan was trending.

 

Irish Mirror exploiting the same by correlating nationality to the virus has raised concerns amongst the Chinese community in Galway, as they share how they are being treated differently since the outbreak.

 

Ms Bao who is studying an English course at NUI Galway language center said, “At approximately 1 AM, someone knocked on my door and tried to open the door with the key, alone in a strange country without any friends, I do feel a sense of panic.”

 

Ms Zeng expressed her fears about the safety of her friends and family.

“I’m from Wuhan. Many of my friends in Wuhan are infected, but I can’t do anything for them. It is so painful.”

 

According to The National Public Health Emergency of Ireland: “The WHO has declared the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as a public health emergency of international concern. This designation will strengthen support from the WHO to the Chinese authorities in their response.

 

In response to people’s anger, the Irish Daily Mirror made an apology on 3rd February. It said, “We would like to stress that it was not our intention to cause upset and we apologise to anyone who found the term offensive.”

 

Chinese students unions across all Irish universities would like to advise to the journalists and editors in Irish Mirror: “The duty of a journalist is to deliver information accurately and timely, please be careful in writing headlines and news.”

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