By Harrison Arubu
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has renewed his appeal against stigmatisation over the coronavirus epidemic and sued for kindness, empathy and global solidarity as the world battles to contain the novel virus.
In a short message, he called for proper response to contain the epidemic, which has claimed no fewer than 4,400 lives globally.
“A new coronavirus (COVID-19) is challenging us all. We need to be ready to take on this threat together.
“I ask all of you to: Be Safe, by following medical, scientific advice and taking simple, practical steps such as thorough hand washing and other recommendations by health authorities.
“Be Informed – and stay up to date with the latest guidance from your government and the World Health Organisation.
“Be Kind, and make sure no one faces stigma. And, together, let’s be smart and fight COVID-19 in solidarity, as United Nations,” he said.
There has been reports of suspected stigmatisation of Asians, especially Chinese from whose country the virus broke out in December.
On Friday, a video emerged on social media of what appears to be a racially-motivated crime sparked by fear of the coronavirus in a New York subway train.
In the short video, a man is seen apparently telling a fellow male passenger of Asian origin to move away, before spraying him Febreeze air freshener.
The New York Police Department said it had started investigating the case as a possible hate crime.