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Police are investigating allegations of racism over coronavirus in Soton

One Soton Uni student had a stone thrown at him

Police are investigating reports of racist incidents linked to the coronavirus in Southampton.

There have been five alleged incidents in four days in Southampton and Portsmouth, The Portsmouth News reports.

People have been targeted with racial slurs and verbal abuse. One University of Soton student had a stone thrown at him in the city centre, being told: "Go back to your fucking country." Another student, wearing a face mask, was called a "virus".

Other incidents reportedly include a member of staff at a Southampton Chinese restaurant being harassed, and a bus driver asking a man to get off the bus in Portsmouth, as he was wearing a face mask.

The news comes after a Soton school was closed and evacuated last week, over coronavirus fears.

Earlier in the month, paramedics were called to Mayflower Halls, when a student feeling "unwell" returning from China was quarantined immediately after they transferred from the airport. The student later tested negative for coronavirus.

Dr Michael Ng, chair of University of Southampton's Chinese Students and Scholars Association, said: "There are racist people who are using the coronavirus as an excuse to racially abuse the Asian community.

"Students at the university are affected – they are afraid of putting on their masks in case they face abuse. There have been no incidents on campus, but there are many which have happened in the city centre.

"There are many incidents which have not been reported to the police."

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: "There have been a small number of incidents of racial abuse.

"Any crimes perpetuated by hate and prejudice are completely unacceptable. We are working with Chinese community leaders."

Have you had a similar experience? Speak to us in confidence by emailing [email protected], or DM us on Instagram @sotontab.

Stock featured image via SWNS

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