Northeast Philadelphia’s large Chinese community often relies on news and social media from its home country, and stories about that nation’s active and crippling coronavirus outbreak have stoked fears of the same happening here.

“Some Chinese people, they don’t speak English,” said Salina Ko, owner of China Gourmet, a restaurant off Roosevelt Boulevard in Mayfair. “They’re only trusting the media from the Chinese.”

As a result, the Chinese customers she depends on are eating out less. Her business, which has garnered citywide acclaim, has declined as much as 30% in the last two weeks, Ko said. She has moved her closing time to 10 p.m. from midnight and cut her staff’s shifts by eight to 10 hours per week.

People in the community, and those representing it, believe the loss of business that Ko is experiencing is happening throughout the city’s largest Chinese population center. Philadelphia has 22,000 residents who identify as Chinese, according to Census data — twice as many as two decades ago. Of those, more than 20% live in the Northeast neighborhoods of Oxford Circle/Castor and Mayfair.

Staff for City Councilmember Bobby Henon said they’ve been told of businesses being hurt.

“We don’t have any evidence to show that yet, but we hear from our business owners that’s the case,” said Courtney Voss, Henon’s chief of staff.

Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that has spread to more than 90,000 people worldwide and killed more than 3,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The virus originated in the Chinese city Wuhan, but has spread to at least 70 other countries. As of Tuesday night, more than 120 cases had been identified and nine deaths reported in the United States, according to authorities. One possible case of coronavirus, the first in the area, was reported by Philadelphia health officials Tuesday night.

Concerns about the illness prompted a public meeting Monday night at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s main branch, Parkway Central, with a panel of medical and public health experts. About 60 people, including some from the Chinese community attended. They wanted to know about transmission of the illness and how to protect themselves, said Curtis Miyamoto, a physician with Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine who was one of the panelists, and they said they had seen some discrimination since coronavirus became worldwide news. One woman who lives in a high-rise apartment building with a large number of Chinese residents said delivery people have been reluctant to come inside.

“One of the questions I was asked was, ‘Would you come to our building?’ ” Miyamoto said. “And my answer was ‘Absolutely.’ ”

He emphasized that anyone is at risk of catching coronavirus, and cautioned against identifying it as having a particular connection to the Asian community. He cited reports that because of coronavirus fears, doctors who looked Asian were asked to stay away from a child in Melbourne, Australia, and a person of Asian descent was struck on the head with a bottle at a gas station in Italy.

“I think there are some distinct prejudices out there that this is an Asian disease vs. a disease that affects everybody,” Miyamoto said.

He also tried to tamp down misinformation about the illness. Ko, the China Gourmet owner, was among the people who have been buying protective surgical masks — though in her case, they were not for herself but for family in Hong Kong, where masks have been hard to find. She joked that she spent $370 to ship masks manufactured in China back to China.

It probably wasn’t money well spent, though, Miyamoto said.

“Wearing a mask to protect themselves, just a regular mask, is not going to really be useful," he said.

Leaders in the Chinese community said they must balance the dissemination of health information with the risk of spreading unnecessary fear. A report of a coronavirus case in New York City led to a run on rice at supermarkets last Friday, said Mingchu “Pearl” Huynh, president of the Northeast Philadelphia Chinese Association.

“I myself think it’s an overreaction, but I don’t want to tell people to go out,” Huynh said. “I personally, myself, I go out and shop more and spend more money on eating out this month. I think we should help the economy.”

She maintains a channel on WeChat, a social media service similar to Facebook that’s popular in China, with deep reach in the Chinese community in Philadelphia. She has used it to provide information on symptoms and the prevention of infection, but she has also seen rumors shared there that the United States is refusing to help China.

“Whoever spread that kind of thing, I kick them out of my group,” she said. “I tell people, ‘Don’t spread this kind of rumor, it’s not healthy.’ ”

On Cottman Avenue, Sam Tang refused to let coronavirus get in the way of his plans to debut his new Szechuan restaurant and karaoke bar, Voix. He acknowledged that people in the Chinese community are nervous about being at increased risk of exposure to the virus.

“They’re not scared of Americans,” he said. “They’re scared of people coming from China.”

The karaoke bar opened about two months ago, and the restaurant began serving Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, the restaurant portion was empty but for one family, but the karaoke business has been brisk, he said.

“Here, I don’t feel any hurt,” Tang said. “The young generation comes here. They don’t care.”