The unnamed student expressed concerns with the possibility of spreading coronavirus over use of a handheld scanner. The email stated that “over 100 people each lecture” use them. Some of whom are “coughing, sneezing and blowing their nose throughout”.
Among those who contracted the virus, the mortality rate remains at only 2%
The NHS website reports “similar viruses spread through cough droplets” and advises individuals to prevent catching the virus by “try[ing] to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.”
The risk to individuals from coronavirus remains low according to the NHS. Among those who contracted the virus, the mortality rate remains at only 2%, indicating a disconnection between the small risk of catching and possibly dying from coronavirus.
As of 16 February, only nine people in the UK have been tested positive for the coronavirus despite more than 2000 people having been tested. The first case recorded was a student at University of York.
The incident may have contributed to concerns over the spread of the virus at universities. The high proportion of Chinese international students on the Computer Science course at University of Liverpool was considered by the anonymous student as an “all the more important” reason for implementing safety measures.
Newcastle University consists of students from more than 120 countries, including over 1800 Chinese students
The concerns has led to some Chinese students to have experienced xenophobia as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Newcastle University consists of students from more than 120 countries, including over 1800 Chinese students.
One student told The Courier: “When I was on my way to the Metro station, I heard three English girls saying “here comes a Chinese virus”, and they hid their faces under the jumpers. I was jolly disappointed and sad about being in such a situation as I don’t really think the virus is an excuse for racial discrimination.
It’s kind of showing me that Orientals need to cover their eyes rather than noses and mouths because it seems that people care more about if you’re Oriental than whether you’re carrying the virus or not.”
Chris Day, the Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University has reported in a “Message of support” last 5 February that he has been “appalled by some alarming reports on social media of racial incidents within the city aimed at [Newcastle University] students.”
In the message, Day reiterated that students should focus on supporting students who may “be worrying about family and friends who are still in China”.
Asian students don’t pose any more risk than any other students on campusEllen Lawrence, Second-year English Literature student at Newcastle University
However, not all students are worried about coronavirus. When asked about their fears of the risk of catching coronavirus, Ellen Lawrence, a second-year student studying English Literature at Newcastle University stated: “Asian students don’t pose any more risk than any other students on campus”.
This has been echoed by Evie Garvin, a third-year Geography student at Newcastle University. She considers coronavirus as “something I [do not] think about when walking around campus”.