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Chinese Canadians warn public against spreading fear, racism over coronavirus

Chinese Canadian communities report rise in discrimination
WATCH ABOVE: Health and City of Toronto officials are calling for calm as panic is spreading over the new coronavirus. As Caryn Lieberman reports, they’re concerned specifically about a rise in xenophobia.

Members of Toronto’s Chinese community are urging the public to refrain from spreading fear and stigmatizing the community in the wake of the Coronavirus, which originated in China.

Mayor John Tory, along with members of Toronto Public Health and other council members, condemned the stigmatization of the Chinese Canadian community during a press conference at City Hall Wednesday afternoon.

Tory urged the community to make sure that during a heightened time of anxiety over the virus, people shouldn’t let “fake news triumph over the facts.”

READ MORE: 2nd case of coronavirus now confirmed in Toronto

“We can’t let fear or ignorance triumph over our values of community, understanding, respect and rejection of discrimination,” he said.

The Chinese Canadian National Council echoed Tory’s sentiment.

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Dr. Joseph Wong, founder of Chinese Canadian National Council, said he wants to get rid of the “myth” surrounding this virus.

“I think there is so much panic in the community, people are not acting with evidence and fact, people are acting with fear and panic,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘We’re ready, we’re prepared:’ Toronto, Ontario public health officials on coronavirus

Officials reminded the public that xenophobia has no place in the city and that the public should remember the chances of contracting the coronavirus are still extremely low.

There are two confirmed cases of the virus in Ontario, a married couple in their 50s living in Toronto who recently returned from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak. A presumptive confirmed case has also been reported in British Columbia. All three patients are said to be expected to recover.

The virus has sickened nearly 6,000 people and killed more than 130 people in China, but has not been declared an international emergency by the World Health Organization.

With files from The Canadian Press