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Coronavirus race assault: Racist’s friends stood by as he floored woman

Pals: Meera Solanki and Mandy Huang

A WOMAN was treated in hospital after being knocked out as she stood up for a Chinese friend being racially abused over the coronavirus outbreak.

Trainee lawyer Meera Solanki was punched in the head by a man who had told her pal Mandy Huang: ‘Take your f***ing coronavirus back home.’

Police appealed for help tracing the culprit as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the UK hit 13 — with four cruise ship passengers testing positive after being flown home.

Italian authorities last night axed Venice’s famed carnival and introduced draconian restrictions in a bid to stop the virus spreading as the country’s number of cases reached 133.

Ms Solanki revealed she was attacked while out celebrating her 29th birthday with friends in Birmingham city centre. Her assailant began harassing the group before making the racist comment about Ms Huang, 28, who was visiting from London.

Ms Solanki, of Solihull in the West Midlands, said: ‘I was shocked and angry so I shouted for him to stop and tried to push him away. He punched me in the head. I hit the pavement and was knocked unconscious.

‘As I lay unconscious, he continued to threaten my friends and abuse them before walking away calmly with his group of friends, who did nothing to stop him or help me.’

She spent six hours in hospital being treated for concussion after the attack at about 2am on February 9. The passengers infected with Covid-19 spent weeks confined to the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, because of an outbreak aboard.

They had no symptoms before getting on a rescue flight but tested positive on arrival. They were taken to NHS infection centres and the other 28 people flown home are in quarantine.