Anti-Asian hate crimes up 21% in UK during Coronavirus emergency and other stories

Chinese people of Hong Kong queuing for face masks at the beginning of their coronavirus emergency in January 2020. Image: Studio Incendo – DSCF2199. CC BY 2.0

Ministers have told MPs that hate crimes against the south and the east Asian communities in the UK have increased by 21% during the coronavirus pandemic.

Police estimates suggest a threefold increase in such incidents in the first three months of 2020 compared with the same period last year.

Last week, a report warned of rising levels of racist abuse that had forced people of Chinese ethnicity to withdraw from UK society before the lockdown.

They are likely to escalate when it lifts.

The report found Chinese people have been coughed at, attacked and told to ‘go back home.’

Social distancing ‘impossible’ on London public transport

Commuters in London said social distancing was ‘next to impossible’ after they came to use public transport for the first time since lockdown rules were eased.

According to government guidelines, passengers should stay two metres  apart and wear face coverings.

But this first journey left some commuters fearing ‘a second wave of infection.’

A passenger told the BBC that ‘most people were not wearing the masks.’

Transport for London (TfL) said 5,674 more passengers travelled on the Tube on Wednesday compared to the previous day – a 7% increase.

The government has set out plans to restart England’s property market.

After the freeze on property sales due to COVID-19 restrictions, estate agents can now open, viewings can be carried out and removal firms and conveyancers can restart operations.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘Our clear plan will enable people to move home safely, covering each aspect of the sales and letting process, from viewings to removals.’

It is estimated there are 450,000 buyers and renters with plans on hold.

Meanwhile, the housing markets in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland remain shut.

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