Stockpiling, Racism And Fighting: Don’t Let Coronavirus Bring Out The Worst In You

This new strain of flu is proving to be a pain in the backside. It doesn’t mean you have to become one too, writes Hanna Flint.

People wearing masks to protect themselves from coronavirus

by Hanna Flint |
Updated on

It’s been nearly a week since the first person died of coronavirus in the UK, and everyone is really starting to feel the weight of this outbreak. From flights being cancelled to people having to stay home, our everyday lives are being affected and it’s, understandably, frustrating. But as you wash your hands for the umpteenth time today, just remember: you’re washing away germs not the basic principles of human kindness.

Over the last few weeks, there’s been an unfortunate number of incidents that show that this virus, specifically, the panic that has developed from this virus, has brought out the worst in people. First came the racism.

Two weeks ago, 23-year-old Jonathan Mok was attacked on Oxford Street in what London's Metropolitan Police described as a 'racially aggravated assault.' According to the student of Chinese ethnicity, one of his attackers said, 'I don't want your coronavirus in this country,' and doctors told him he might need reconstructive surgery because of the seriousness of his facial injuries.

Several more cases of racial abuse against East Asian people have been reported across the country since, but it’s not just a case of physical forms of discrimination. An email was sent to Vietnamese student and art curator An Nguyen, by art dealer Racquelle Azran, uninviting her to assist at her Vietnamese art installation at the Affordable Arts Fair Battersea.

Azran said she felt their presence would 'create hesitation' and 'fairly or not, Asians are being seen as carriers of the virus.' This is the most lovely and tolerant country in Europe, right?

She has since apologised and her exhibit has been removed by the AAF organisers, but it makes you wonder how long before UK-based Italians get targeted because of that country's high coronavirus cases.

People are also going to somewhat inconsiderate lengths to avoid leaving the house by stockpiling groceries. Pictures of empty supermarket shelves are being posted on social media and according to a recent survey of 2,000 shoppers, by Retail Economics, 10% of consumers are hoarding essential items. Even the government has urged people to chill out with the stockpiling.

'There is absolutely no need for anybody to stockpile or anything like that,' Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC. 'We are confident the supermarket supply chains can keep refilling the shelves.

'I understand people's concerns if they go to the supermarket and see that… products are not there. There really is no need to buy things in volume.'

Several retailers are having to implement sales restrictions because of this panic buying, and it’s a good thing considering the violent incidents that broke out Down Under. Several videos of physical fights over toilet roll have gone viral on Twitter and it beggars belief.

Do you really want to become a meme over the thing you wipe your bum with? You’re so much better than that!

And let’s all be a bit mindful about our travel plans, eh? Especially if you've got tickets booked to China, South Korean or Italy. The government is asking UK residents to avoid travelling to these countries unless it’s essential because of what you might bring back. Sure, you might be in good health and have a strong immune system but think about the people on your flight, back home or in your office who may not. If you carry that virus home and transfer to a colleague or a stranger (especially if they have a compromised immune system) they could suffer for it.

So let’s collectively agree to be more thoughtful when it comes to dealing with this outbreak, especially when cases of coronavirus are currently relatively low in the UK.

Be kind, be considerate and most important of all, wash your hands.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Will I Have To Cancel My Summer Wedding?

READ MORE: Has Coronavirus Made You A Viral Viewer?

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us