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09th Mar 2020

Coronavirus panic is taking a devastating toll on Chinatown

Oli Dugmore

“We’ve lost £15,000 a week.”

The first cases of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, in the United Kingdom were confirmed on January 31, 2020.

The virus first came to the attention of the World Health Organisation on New Year’s Eve 2019, before the WHO confirmed the new coronavirus causing respiratory illness among a cluster of people in Wuhan, China on January 12.

Since then the disease has spread to more than 100 countries, with Italy the worst affected outside of China. The country’s Northern region has now been completely quarantined by the government, with the inhabitants of 15 provinces requiring special permission to leave.

Though the situation in the United Kingdom remains less serious, the outbreak of the virus on these shores has had a devastating impact, particularly on the Chinese community and its business.

We went to London’s Chinatown to speak to the owner of a usually thriving restaurant, who reveals just how much the virus has affected people’s behaviour and his business.