Attack on mask-wearing Chinese student in Sheffield condemned as racism

A business leader has described an attack on a mask-wearing Chinese student in Sheffield as ‘racism’.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 4:00 pm

Jerry Cheung said thugs on West Street who pushed a young woman and demanded to know why she was wearing a mask were using it as an excuse to be 'zenophobic and racist’.

The incident came as the deadly coronavirus spreads across the world. There have been two confirmed cases in the UK but no deaths.

He added: “It’s crazy, there’s no need for that. In Hong Kong and China everyone is wearing masks. All she was doing was following government advice.”

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Mr Cheung outside the New Era student flats where public areas are disinfected three times a day.

Mr Cheung is co-owner of the New Era Development on St Mary’s Gate which more than 600 flats, 80 per cent let to Chinese students.

He said they were in “constant” contact with several who had come back from China and had advised them to ‘self-quarantine’ - severely restrict their movements - for 14 days.

Public spaces were disinfected twice a day and advice posters had been pinned up, he added.

“We are in daily communication about how they feel and if there are any symptoms we will know straight away. All measures are being taken.”

Coronavirus advice posters have been pinned up at New Era, while, inside, staff wear masks.

There have been more than 14,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide and more than 300 deaths. Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the outbreak, is on lockdown.

There are about 10,000 Chinese nationals living in Sheffield.

Last week, Mr Cheung said Sheffield’s Chinese community was ‘panicking’ as the coronavirus spread around the world.

The New Era Square development on St Mary's Gate.