Since its outbreak in January Coronavirus has shook the world with panic. The virus has spread to over 140 countries with more than 182,000 cases, the World Health Organisation has declared it as a global pandemic.
People all over the planet are worried about contracting the disease, many have turned to self-isolation and quarantine.
So, what is Coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause diseases in animals however some of these viruses have jumped to humans and therefore caused what we now know as Covid-19.
As it stands, around 20 per cent of confirmed cases have been classed as severe or critical. Currently there are 1,543 cases in the UK with the death toll at 55 so far.
Despite rumors of the virus starting from a bat, the actual source is undetermined.
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It is believed to be caused by disease spreading between animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan which sold both dead and live animals. These kinds of markets often have low hygiene standards where animals are closely packed together and even slaughtered on site.
It is thought that bats started the outbreak as they could have infected other animals at the market. In the past, bats have caused similar viruses including Ebola.
Since the virus broke out in China, Chinese people all over the world have faced prejudice and acts of hate crimes against them. Social media and mis-information has led the general population to point the finger at Chinese people and brand them as diseased and contagious whatever their health status.
On March 6, London’s Metropolitan Police announced that they had arrested two men based on “racially aggravated assault” against a 23-year-old from Singapore who was walking down oxford street.
Miri Song, professor of sociology at the University of Kent told TIME magazine that this behaviour is expected particularly in predominantly white, multi-ethnic societies like England or the U.S.
“Whenever there’s some kind of major incident with global or regional implications, and as soon as you can identify it in relation to some racial ‘other, I think it’s very easy for people to use a very small excuse to start scapegoating on the basis of their appearance,”
Memes are making fun of the situation have been circulating on social media.
The international officer for York St John University Catherine Rowan says that in her position she has seen an increase in hate crime toward the Asian and Chinese minorities in York, those mainly being students. Rowan says the behaviour she has seen in York is that reflected to what we have been seeing on social media.
“Obviously with that ethnicity, people think they carry illness and they are judgemental towards them, a lot of them don’t get served in shops, they get asked to wear masks on public transport and some of them even get beat up.”
Rowan shared this post to Facebook last week.
It is not OK to be targeted because of who you, your family or your friends are – or who people think they are. If you witness a hate crime please contact the MET police online at https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/, call them at 101 or visit your nearest police station.
If you think you may have Corona virus symptoms or want to know more about the virus, visit the NHS page here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or call 111 if your symptoms get serious.