• The banner says: 'Congratulations to the United States for the outbreak of COVID-19' 
  • The banner also has anti-Japanese sentiments: 'Long live the epidemic in little Japan'
  • Police are now investigating Hui, the manager 

A restaurant located at a shopping district in China has set up a huge banner to celebrate the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

In bright red and gold, the banner was seen hanging at the restaurant's entrance, Sunday, March 22. The eatery is found in Shenyang's Taiyuan Shopping Street.

According to news sources from China, the banner had the words: "Congratulations to the United States for the outbreak of COVID-19." It also wished that the coronavirus would "continue forever" in Japan.

The banner's photo has been making the rounds on social media, where it received immense criticisms.

"This is so, so embarrassing," a Weibo user posted.

"It represents a large number of Chinese people with narrow-minded nationalism," another said in the Twitter-like platform used by billions of Chinese.

Beijing News, a widely-distributed daily in China, said that the restaurant erred in putting up the banner.

"COVID-19 is a disaster, and the common enemy of mankind regardless of race, geography or nation," the report stated. "We must act in unison with hostility against a common enemy and must not be happy to witness the disaster of others."

The daily also criticized the anti-Japanese sentiments, considering that Japan has donated medical supplies as China battled the pandemic.

Reports revealed that the manager of the restaurant, identified by his surname Hui, was fired from his job following the backlash.

Apparently, Hui hung the banner without alerting the head office and its franchise owner Mama Yang. The food chain released a statement to say that they were not aware of Hui's action. They have asked Hui to take down the banner after the viral photo appeared on social media.

"We are deeply sorry for the negative societal effect it has caused," the head office said in a press release.

Hui is, currently, under investigation by the local police.

Meanwhile, the United States has over 53,000 positive COVID-19 cases with 685 deaths as of March 25. The White House imposed a 15-day guideline to limit the virus spread and President Donald J. Trump said he will make another decision about shutting down once the guideline's initial recommendations are up.

President Donald J. Trump joined the White House Coronavirus Task Force during a press briefing about the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen

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