Sunday, February 2, 2020

Racism more dangerous than novel coronavirus – FilChi business group

XENOPHOBIA. Racism spreads alongside the novel coronavirus. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines– The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (FFCCCII) cautioned the public not to resort to racism as the novel coronavirus spreads worldwide, adding that discrimination is more dangerous than the disease. “Spreading fake news and racist, xenophobic messages can be more dangerous than the virus itself due to their negative effects of causing confusion, fears, rancor and instability,” FFCCCII said in a statement on Saturday, February 1.

The business chamber also reminded Filipinos that China is an important economic partner of the Philippines for a thousand years. “In fact, we should give moral support and encouragements to China in their valiant efforts to contain this ailment,” FFCCCII said.

The group said it plans to donate a million or more face masks to Filipinos, although the World Health Organization already said that masks are not needed by healthy people with no respiratory symptoms. (READ: FAST FACTS: What's next after novel coronavirus declared an int'l emergency?) The Department of Health confirmed one case of novel coronavirus infection on Thursday, a 38-year-old Chinese woman who travelled from Wuhan to several places in the Philippines. Health officials are monitoring 31 people for the novel coronavirus. At least 259 people have died from the novel coronavirus in China, and 11,791 others have been infected as of Saturday.

The virus has spooked investors as well and placed downward pressures on the local bourse and the Philippine peso. The government's economic team downplayed the impact of the virus to the economy.