A differently-abled man in Belgium alleged he was bitten in the chest by another man on a bus for asking him to wear his mask properly. The allegation comes at a time when healthcare experts have been urging people to wear a mask in public.
Robert Murphy, who hails from Ireland, said the incident happened when he was travelling in a bus in the northern Belgian province of Antwerp. A couple boarded the bus and sat at the seats across Murphy, who noticed they had pulled down their masks under their chins. He reportedly told them to adjust their masks properly to cover their nose and mouth. However, the man refused and an argument between the two men ensued.
During the argument, Murphy alleged, the man swore at him and later proceeded to bite Murphy on his chest.
"I tried to pull myself free, but I am disabled so it was not easy," the 56-year-old reportedly said. "We tussled until the man threw himself at my chest and bit me. I couldn't believe it. He was like a mad dog. I pushed him away, but he wouldn't leave me alone. The whole time he tried to bite me again."
Fellow passengers intervened and separated the man from Murphy. The couple reportedly deboarded the bus and fled. However, the local police arrested the man, 38, and his partner, AD Media reported.
Before this scuffle, Murphy said heard a man seating behind sneeze and felt droplets on the back of his head. Murphy then reportedly told the man to "at least turn away" if he wanted to sneeze. The man apologized to him for sneezing.
Murphy reportedly sought treatment at a local hospital for his bite injuries.
"Strangely enough, the doctor doesn't want to do a Covid-19 test because I cannot show that the other person, the biter, was infected with the virus. Fingers crossed," Murphy reportedly said.
As the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus disease a pandemic earlier this year, health experts have been urging people to wear a mask in public. However, this has become a bone of contention for many with some people arguing wearing masks was a breach of their human rights and that wearing masks was a sign of weakness. Most of these beliefs have stemmed from several conspiracy theories that say wearing a mask did not help one from getting infected with Covid-19. However, people have vocally criticized those refusing to wear a mask in public.
Last month, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "In light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is a widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments."