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02:22

Italy: Business and traffic in Milan’s Chinatown plunges amid coronavirus fears

Italy, Milan
February 20, 2020 at 15:59 GMT +00:00 · Published

Residents of Milan's Chinatown district shared their thoughts and experiences related to the surge of racism and drop in business following general hysteria surrounding the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

For lifelong Chinatown resident Anna, when coronavirus started making headlines the district's thoroughfare, Paolo Sarpi Street, became empty. "There was nobody on the street, neither Italian people nor Chinese. It was so sad."

For Chinese-Italian entrepreneur Daniele, the most noticeable drop in business hit Chinese restaurants. Daniele blamed "fake news" for convincing people that "if they go eat in a Chinese restaurant, they will get the virus."

"Ignorance and racism often go hand in hand. Kids are not informed, parents don't educate their children, they don't give them information," Daniele added.

"The media have played their part with the whole coronavirus issue," said an entrepreneur named Fabio. "People sadly allow themselves to be influenced and some decided not to come to this area. In my opinion they made a mistake, because there’s no risk here."

Milan’s Chinatown district is home to the oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy, with around 21,000 people in 2011.

Italian media has reported several instances of Italians of Chinese origin and Chinese citizens being insulted on the street since news of the novel coronavirus became public.

On February 7, the Italian Chinese Business Association stated that Chinese-owned bars in Milan had suffered a 20 percent drop in business, Chinese-owned restaurants a 50-60 percent drop and shops and supermarkets a 40 percent drop since the beginning of the coronavirus coverage.

02:22
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Description

Residents of Milan's Chinatown district shared their thoughts and experiences related to the surge of racism and drop in business following general hysteria surrounding the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

For lifelong Chinatown resident Anna, when coronavirus started making headlines the district's thoroughfare, Paolo Sarpi Street, became empty. "There was nobody on the street, neither Italian people nor Chinese. It was so sad."

For Chinese-Italian entrepreneur Daniele, the most noticeable drop in business hit Chinese restaurants. Daniele blamed "fake news" for convincing people that "if they go eat in a Chinese restaurant, they will get the virus."

"Ignorance and racism often go hand in hand. Kids are not informed, parents don't educate their children, they don't give them information," Daniele added.

"The media have played their part with the whole coronavirus issue," said an entrepreneur named Fabio. "People sadly allow themselves to be influenced and some decided not to come to this area. In my opinion they made a mistake, because there’s no risk here."

Milan’s Chinatown district is home to the oldest and largest Chinese community in Italy, with around 21,000 people in 2011.

Italian media has reported several instances of Italians of Chinese origin and Chinese citizens being insulted on the street since news of the novel coronavirus became public.

On February 7, the Italian Chinese Business Association stated that Chinese-owned bars in Milan had suffered a 20 percent drop in business, Chinese-owned restaurants a 50-60 percent drop and shops and supermarkets a 40 percent drop since the beginning of the coronavirus coverage.

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