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According to multiple questionable news sources:

The Mayor of Florence is facing fresh criticism after he encouraged Italians to “Hug a Chinese” as a stand against racism before Italy was later forced to quarantine its entire country because of the coronavirus.

Did this happen?

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    @pipe "[and therefore leftism is bad, etc etc]" is a summary of what the news sources say. It is not directly relevant to the question, but I think it helps establish context.
    – user253751
    Mar 18 '20 at 16:56
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    Also those Asians were those in Italy for doing their lives, no people out of an arrived plane or ship. Just to put in context.
    – Alchimista
    Mar 20 '20 at 8:22
  • Hmm, good that you refer to Chinese as "Asians"
    – skv
    Mar 23 '20 at 8:53
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    @user253751 it is not just you, but many use this, so don't take it personally but quoting Chinese or Japanese or Indians as "Asians" is a bit insensitive especially in the current context
    – skv
    Mar 29 '20 at 13:03
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    @skv Depends where you live as usual. In the US Indians are not called Asians but Chinese and Japanese commonly are, and that's the "preferred" term and not considered insensitive. Apr 5 '20 at 16:42
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Yes, Dario Nardella did make a tweet along those lines.

The Global News tweet you linked reads:

The mayor of Florence, Italy, @DarioNardella initiated "hug a Chinese" on Twitter on Feb 1, opposing anger toward China amid the #nCoV2019 outbreak, and calling for "Unity in this common battle!" Many Italian netizens responded by posting photos of themselves with Chinese.

The tweet in question is this one, from February 1st:

.#coronavirus: seguiamo le indicazioni delle autorità sanitarie e usiamo cautela, ma nessun terrorismo psicologico e soprattutto basta con i soliti sciacalli che non vedevano l’ora di usare questa scusa per odiare e insultare. Uniti in questa battaglia comune! #AbbracciaUnCinese

The hashtag translates to #HugAChinese.

Note that the first cases of coronavirus in Italy were only confirmed a day before, on January 31st, and the number of confirmed cases only really took off at the end of February.

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    Your last statement, well, it's because by the end of February, many people who would have contracted the virus weren't even aware they did. Mar 25 '20 at 16:58

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