As the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak-a 'Public Health Emergency of International Concern' (PHEIC), Italy confirmed two cases of the disease. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, immediately ordered all air traffic to be halted between Italy and China.
The disease which was first reported in Chinese city Wuhan, on Dec. 31, has spread to 18 countries. As more than 90% cases reported outside China are of those who had recently traveled to China, the Chinese nationals are at the receiving end of xenobhobic attacks as global panic has set in.
Anti-Chinese xenophobic incidents in Italy
A number of cases of racist attacks on Chinese nationals have been reported in Italy. Roberto Giuliani, the director of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, one of the oldest music institutes in the world, was widely criticized when he barred students from China, South Korea and Japan, from attending classes unless they get tested for the virus.
Another music institute told Chinese students, who had returned after the Lunar New Year holidays (Jan. 24-30) to stay at home for 14 days, Guardian reported.
People from China are the target of racist attack in other parts of the world, as well. John Tory, the mayor of Toronto, came in support of Chinese-Canadian community "as they face challenges due to misinformation and anxiety around the novel Coronavirus".
Many non-Chinese Asians too came under similar attacks.
Other similar incidents reported in Italy include, two Chinese tourists being spat at by a group of children in Venice, and three Chinese tourists being insulted at a restaurant in Turin. One Chinese tourist wasn't allowed to enter Pompeii's archaeological park and another was yelled at in a train. "I hope you get the virus toom" was what a Chinese boy was told by his opponents, while playing football.
Govt measures on coronavirus infection
In a press conference, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed that two Chinese tourists, who had traveled from Rome, were infected with the deadly novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). "We have already prepared all the precautionary measures to isolate these two cases," Conte said. "There is no reason to create social alarm or panic," he added, while ordering all flights to and from China be cancelled.
Italy became the fourth European country to report coronavirus infection case, after France, Germany and Finland. Among them, Germany is the only country to confirm a case which involved human-to-human transmission of the virus.