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Coronavirus scare frightens countries around the globe

Posted January. 28, 2020 08:39,   

Updated January. 28, 2020 08:39


With the deadly Wuhan coronavirus spreading across the globe, major tourist destinations and concert halls are being shut down and governments are setting up contingency plans.

France has suspended almost all China-related events as the cases of Wuhan virus have been confirmed in the country. Festivals and parades were scheduled in various places in Paris, including the Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement, to celebrate the Chinese New Year on Jan. 26, but all of them were canceled on the day of the events. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said during an interview that even Chinese living in Paris wanted the festivals to be cancelled saying that it is not the right time to have festivals.

There were hatred attacks against Chinese tourists as the coronavirus scare is spreading across Europe. A Chinese couple travelling Venice, Italy was recently taunted with racial slurs and spat on by some Italian teenagers. Pope Francis prayed on Sunday for the victims and for all those affected by the coronavirus and praised China’s commitment to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

Governments around the world are announcing countermeasures for the coronavirus. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives on Monday that his Cabinet will designate the new coronavirus as an infectious disease. Once a disease is designated as infectious by the government, patients can be treated using public funds. Those who refuse to be hospitalized can be subject to forced hospitalization.

In Hong Kong, concerts are being canceled, triggering large-scale refunds. Hong Kong star Andy Lau, who is famous for his role in “Infernal Affairs,” canceled his 20 concerts scheduled to be held from next month at the Hong Kong Stadium due to the virus outbreak, according to the South China Morning Post. Leon Lai, who starred in the film “Comrades: Almost a Love Story,” canceled his concert in Macao this week. Hong Kong’s famous tourist destinations, including Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car, Disney Land, and Ocean Park, were shut down on Sunday, resulting in refunds to customers.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com