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'It's disgusting': Simon Harris says people have purposefully coughed in his face

The Health Minister said a man and woman came up to him and tried to cough on him as a joke yesterday.

Health Minister Simon Harris
Health Minister Simon Harris
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris has said two people approached him in public and purposefully coughed in his face before walking away laughing.

Harris said the incident and other similar reported incidents are “disgusting”.

He was responding to a question about the so-called ‘Corona challenge’ on social media in which young people video themselves coughing into people’s faces.

Harris said a man and woman on the street came up to him and tried to cough on him as a joke yesterday.

“There seems to be some sort of social media game. It’s not a game. It’s disgusting,” Harris said today.


Separately, a male in his late teens was arrested for a Public Order Offence in Dungarvan in Waterford on Monday after allegedly coughing at people. The matter is under investigation.

An Garda Síochána said it is aware of the ‘challenge’.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “Any member of the public should report such activity to An Garda Síochána and not on social media.

“This activity could amount to an offence under the Public Order Act or Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.”

They said gardaí “will treat any reports of this type of activity seriously”.

The spokesperson added that clear public information messages are required at this time and said An Garda Síochána requests “that media do not inadvertently propagate social media myths or fake news”.

In the Dún Laoghaire area of Dublin yesterday, gardaí responded to reports of a group of young people engaged in anti-social behaviour.

Gardaí directed the youths to disperse and one male in his teens was arrested and brought to Dún Laoghaire Garda Station. There was no allegation made of youths spitting and coughing on passers-by in this incident, gardaí noted.

Contains reporting from PA

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Órla Ryan

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