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‘You should wear a mask’ - Filipino nurse racially abused on bus over coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 14:51 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:09 12 February 2020

Filipino nurse Mark Nopia, who works at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, was racially abused while on a bus. Picture: BBC Look East/Archant

Filipino nurse Mark Nopia, who works at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, was racially abused while on a bus. Picture: BBC Look East/Archant

Archant

A Filipino nurse has said he was “on the verge of tears” after being racially abused on a bus over the coronavirus outbreak.

A Norfolk and Norwich Unvierstiy Hospital nurse has been abused over the coronavirus. Picture: Nick ButcherA Norfolk and Norwich Unvierstiy Hospital nurse has been abused over the coronavirus. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mark Nopia, a 32-year-old nurse from the Phillipines, was on his way home from work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital when a fellow passenger launched a tirade against him for not wearing a face mask.

Mr Nopia told the BBC he was confronted aboard a bus by an elderly man who insisted he should be wearing a face mask in light of the outbreak of the virus from China.

Speaking to BBC Look East, Mr Nopia said: "The man said: 'Are you Chinese? You Asians. Stop spreading the virus. You should wear a mask'.

"At first, I was dumbfounded. I was so shocked that it happened - I was on the verge of crying. We shouldn't use the virus as an excuse to be racist."

Filipino nurse Mark Nopia, who was racially abused on a bus in Norwich. Picture: BBC Look EastFilipino nurse Mark Nopia, who was racially abused on a bus in Norwich. Picture: BBC Look East

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He added that he was grateful to another woman on the bus who had stood up for him in light of the confrontation.

The virus, which has eight confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, originated in Wuhan in China. Mr Nophia move to Norfolk three years ago from the Phillipines - more than 2,000km away from Wuhan.

The incident, which happened on Monday, February 3, was reported to police but the investigation has since been closed.

A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: "Officers have investigated the incident and tried to identify those people involved but unfortunately, at this time, all lines of enquiry have been exhausted and it just hasn't been possible to identify any suspects.

"We would of course look again at the investigation should any new information come to light and would urge anybody who may have seen anything or have any information to share this with us.

"Norfolk Constabulary is clear and unambiguous: there isn't any place in our communities for hatred and intolerance. It's important that communities stand together with the police in tackling hostility or prejudice and we would encourage anybody who is the victim of hate crime or witnesses it to report it to the police."


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