IRELAND’S HEALTH Minister Simon Harris has described how he was approached by a man and a woman in the street yesterday who proceeded to cough in his face and run off laughing.
According to Mr. Harris, the incident occurred close to Government Buildings when the pair targeted him thinking “it would be hilarious to come up and cough at me”.
The Health Minister branded the pair’s actions as “pathetic” during a time of great crisis following the coronavirus outbreak.
It has come as part of an alarming trend of “disgusting” incidents, in which nurses and gardai have been targeted by members of the public deliberately coughing in their direction.
Mr Harris fumed: "This happened to me yesterday as I was walking from here to my Department. A man and woman on the street thought it was hilariously funny to come up and cough at me and then run off laughing.
Minister for Health Simon Harris describes how a man on the street yesterday coughed in his face and ran off, thinking it was "hilarious". He is appealing to people not to endanger others during #covid19 by doing this - says it is not hilarious, it is pathetic.
— Michael Brennan (@obraonain) March 25, 2020
"Can we please as a people just look at what's happening in Italy, in the European Union, where we're seeing several hundred people a day dying of a virus that can be deadly to certain people in our population."
"It's not a game, it's disgusting,” Mr Harris added.
"That you would target certain people in your community, generally older people, go up and cough in their face, video it, have a laugh and run off".
"Just think if it was your own granny, grandad, mother, father, your own friend with an underlying health condition"
"Anything that takes off in relation to that on social media will have to be dealt with".
Simon Harris says a man and woman approached him and coughed in his face yesterday
— Kacey O'Riordan (@KaceyORiordan) March 25, 2020
In a similar incident this past Sunday, a man claiming to have Covid-19 repeatedly coughed in the face of a Dublin nurse.
The nurse has since been forced to self-isolate following the incident.
Gardai meanwhile have launched a major probe into the attack.
Elsewhere, a teenage boy in Waterford was arrested over a similar incident.
There have also been reports of teens in Clontarf, Dublin, coughing at pedestrians and a man coughing in the face of an elderly Kildare couple.