A 23-year-old Singapore student of Chinese ethnicity was beaten up in a racist attack on one of London's busiest streets.
Coronavirus is the reason behind the tragic fate he claimed.
"Last Monday, at roughly 9.15 pm on Oxford Street in London, I walked past a group of young men, when I saw one of them look at me (just as he walked past me) and said something to me, which I could make out the word 'coronavirus'," Jonathan Mok wrote in his Facebook post about the incident.
The outbreak of this deadly virus at the end of last year led to sensationalized videos of East Asian people eating live rats, bats and frogs populating social media feed alongside images of long queues and conflict in Chinese hospitals.
Echoing the public discourse of recent Ebola virus outbreaks in West Africa, Nippa virus outbreak in Kerala, a sense of chaos, fear and even disgust permeates every discussion on coronavirus.
"He shouted 'Don't you dare look at me, you ____' (I could not catch the last word because of the accent). Within 3 seconds, he was in my face, together with 3/4 other young men, and a young lady (all of whom seemed no older than 20 years old, but were all more than a head taller than me)," Mok recalled.
"I was shocked and angry because he directed a racist remark at me and had the audacity to shout at me as if I had wronged him. All of a sudden, the first punch was swung at my face and took me by surprise. When I was still shocked by the first hit, the guy delivered the second sucker punch," Mok added.
"The guy who tried to kick me then said, 'I don't want your coronavirus in my country', before swinging another sucker punch at me, which resulted in my face exploding with blood (from my nose), where the blood was splattered all across the pavement. Still, in daze and shock, the group left promptly from the scene before the police arrived," Mok wrote.
The attack comes at a time of increasing xenophobia against people of East Asian appearance in the UK and around the world.
The total number of patients infected by the coronavirus or COVID-19 in India now stands at 31.
Of this, 16 are Italian tourists who have been quarantined in Delhi.
News of the coronavirus is amplifying a specific form of bigotry, called sinophobia — hostility against China, its people, people of Chinese descent, or Chinese culture.
It is noteworthy to mention that not all Asians are Chinese, and not all Chinese carry the coronavirus.
Also Read: Two Contagions Worse Than Coronavirus: Xenophobia And Racism