OFW in Italy attacked, mistaken as Chinese national amid coronavirus outbreak

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 9) — An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Italy was attacked by an Italian man for being mistaken as a Chinese national amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the European country.

Khloe Sison, a Filipino who works at a pizza store in Milan, was hit in the head by an Italian man on her way home from work, she narrated via phone call on CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Monday.

“Umuwi po ako isang gabi galing work, ako po ay sinaktan ng isang Italyano dito gawa ng napagkamalan po akong Chinese... Binatukan po ako,” Sison said.

[Translation: One night on my way home from work, I was attacked by an Italian man because I was mistaken as a Chinese national... I was hit in the head.]

She added that she would further receive hate comments as Italy’s coronavirus infection heightened, seeing a dramatic spike of 1,247 on Saturday.

Moreover, Sison said that Filipinos are very much affected as their work hours were significantly cut due to the outbreak.

“Lahat po ng trabaho namin ay apektado. Hindi na po pinapapasok ng kanilang mga amo dahil takot pong mahawaan ng virus o kaya sila din ay walang trabaho, walang pambayad,” Sison said.

[Translation: All of our jobs are affected. (Filipinos) do not go to work because their employers either avoid the infection of the virus or they do not have money to pay their employees.]

Sison also said that she wants to go home, along with other Filipinos, but cannot do so due to the travel ban imposed by the country.

Millions of people are now on lockdown in northern Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak. This includes the entire Lombardy region, and 14 other provinces.

Italy has recorded 5,883 cases and 233 deaths- the biggest outbreak in Europe, and the most number of deaths outside mainland China.