Masing: No place for racism in fight against Wuhan virus

Tan Sri James Masing

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KUCHING, Feb 4: The world seems divided instead of uniting to face the deadly Wuhan coronavirus epidemic, with racism rearing its ugly head, opined Sarawak deputy chief minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing.

“Instead of looking at the virus for exactly what it is, being sympathetic or looking for ways to deal with it, the world has decided to prosecute one singular race and turn their backs on our own human kind based on skin colour,” Masing lamented in a press statement today.

Citing the World Health Organisation (WHO), Masing highlighted that more often than not, the start of a virus outbreak begins with infected animals and it has been shown through history that viruses could have emerged from just any country at any time.

“This was followed by a few cases where animals infect people and (the outbreak) progresses through the stage where the virus begins to spread directly and ends with a pandemic when it spreads worldwide.”

He also cited the examples of HIV and the Ebola virus originating from Africa and the H1N1 virus, Swine Flu or Influenza A virus first observed in Mexico in 2009 which spread globally within a month.

“The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome first emerged in Saudi Arabia, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus was first discovered in Italy in 2003 and that has not been eradicated until today. The Zika virus first originated from Brazil with over 1.5 million cases across various countries.

“And yet we did not hear how Africans were humiliated because of HIV. The Mexicans were never shamed because of H1N1 and the Italians or Europeans were never discriminated for SARS. The Zika virus was also never labelled as a Brazilian or Latino virus. Neither has syphilis been labelled an European disease,” he added.

While he believed that every country is trying its best to protect its citizens and to contain the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus or any other virus, he urge the world to understand that China has demonstrated great courage in doing all it can to stop the virus from spreading to other countries.

“Clamping down all travels from the infected cities while their very own citizens live in terror is never an easy thing to do for any country. The Chinese government even showed their great commitment by building a hospital within days.

“For the level of commitment the Chinese government has shown, and the nightmare China is living with today, let us all lend them our moral support from across the oceans. Please do not follow the others and labelled the virus as Chinese because the virus knows no place and race,” Masing emphasised. — DayakDaily