Health Minister Simon Harris has warned against people playing "games" over the Covid-19 virus after a man and woman randomly ran up to him on the street and coughed at him.
“This happened to me yesterday as I was walking from here to my department and a man and woman on the street thought it was hilarious to cough at me and run-off laughing”
Mr Harris warned people about engaging in such irresponsible behaviour, given the large numbers of deaths from the spread of the virus in other countries.
"Can we please as people just look at what's happened in Italy, the European Union, where we're seeing several hundred people a day, dying of the virus that can be deadly to certain people in our population.
“When you think particularly older people who are being targeted in relation to this. There seems to be some sort of social media, a game, but it is not a game, it is disgusting, that you will target certain people in your community, generally older people, and go up and cough in their face and video it and have a laugh and run off.
“Just think if it was your own granny, grandad, mother, father, your own friends with underlying health conditions like cystic fibrosis.”
Mr Harris praised the Irish people's response to the virus emergency. But he warned that such deliberate actions, threatening the health of people, would be handled by the law and authorities.
"Anything like that which takes off on social media will have to be dealt with and with the full rigour of the powers of the state.”