No discrimination against Chinese, PM Conte tells Italians

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Rome, Feb 4 (IANS/AKI) Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday urged his people not to discriminate against Chinese citizens amid the Coronavirus epidemic after reports of stone-throwing and attempts to exclude Chinese children from school.

“Signs of discrimination that can also turn violent are unacceptable,” Conte said during a visit to London.

“There is no cause for alarm or panic… the situation is under control and politicians have a responsibility to send such a message,” he added.

On Monday stones were reportedly thrown at the Chinese students of the Fine Arts Academy of Frosinone between Rome and Naples and signs put up in shops in several cities telling Chinese people not to enter.

Meanwhile, Governors of the northern regions of Veneto, Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige regions wrote to the Health Ministry asking for pupils who return to Italy after visits to China be quarantined.

On this, Conte said: “I call on the northern governors to trust those who have specific competence (for this issue).”

Italy had two confirmed coronavirus cases – a Chinese tourist couple being treated at Rome’s military Spallanzani hospital. The government last week halted commercial flights to and from China and earmarked five million euros to safeguard citizens against the coronavirus.

The deadly coronavirus has killed 425 people in China, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong since the outbreak began in mid-December. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China stands at 20,438 and the disease has been detected in at least 23 other countries, most involving people who travelled from China.

–IANS/AKI

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