Fianna Fail TD and Party Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development, James Lawless has said that people need to be reminded that it is a serious offence to cause another person to believe that they have become infected with a disease.
Deputy Lawless said he has been made aware of teenagers and young people deliberately coughing into the faces of other people and spitting at them in an effort to intimidate and frighten them.
The ‘corona challenge’ sees young people film themselves coughing or spitting into people’s faces and licking objects before posting it on TikTok .
The trend may have stemmed from ‘influencer’ (we’re using the term in its loosest sense here) Ava Louise whose video of her licking an aeroplane toilet seat went viral last week.
Please RT this so people can know how to properly be sanitary on the airplane 🥰😅 pic.twitter.com/x7GX9b4Lxc
— Ava Louise (ig @avalouiise) (@realavalouiise) March 14, 2020
James Lawless explained: “This really is too serious to be explained away with a ‘boys will be boys’ attitude”.
He continued: “People are desperately frightened of these thugs who are laughing and jeering about having COVID-19 while coughing directly into people’s faces — it’s disgusting.
“There are grounds for this in the statute books. Under section six of the non-fatal offences against the person act 1997 it is an offence to spray, pour or put onto a person blood or any fluid or substance resembling blood, leading a person to believe that they have become infected with disease as a result”.
Section one of the act makes specific reference to contaminated fluid and section two covers the intentional or reckless application of force in liquid form.