Chinatown community sees impact from coronavirus scare

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Fears of the Wuhan Coronavirus are growing around the country with stories of economic downturn and even discrimination against Chinese communities coming to light, while in Honolulu, locals say the impact is not as harsh but they are taking precautions.

It is the slowdown coming off the Chinese New Year, but local shops are also sensing a state of awareness from their usual customers that is keeping many off the streets.

Michael Wu is a shop owner in Chinatown, he said he has notice less people spending time outside the shops.

Wu said, “Well kind of not many people walking around I think people can like to stay home to prevent getting affected by the virus.”

State health officials say the Coronavirus has not reached the state, but many in the Chinatown community are uneasy over alleged videos surfacing from China showing the impacts of the virus.

Wu said, “Not really from public news, that’s mostly internet people arguing not enough masks, they don’t have enough clothes, and can afford the medical person those kind of news.”

Chu Lan Schubert-Kwock with the Chinatown Community and Business Association says face masks are becoming the norm.

Schubert-Kwock said, “So I am seeing more people wearing masks around Chinatown and people scurrying along they are not going into crowded places

She said the is local urgency but the impact here has not been as harsh as in other Chinese communities.

San Francisco’s Chinatown has become a ghost town with reports of discrimination surfacing.

Schubert-Kwock said these reports remind her of the early 2000’s SARS epidemic where former Governor Linda Lingle toured and dined in Chinatown to halt rumors of SARS affecting the state.

She said, “When it becomes an epidemic it’s everybody’s concern it shouldn’t be discrimination based on issues.”

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