Groups have called for unity in dealing with coronavirus amid reports of a rise in racist behaviour

Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary for Stand Up To Racism discussed one such moment while travelling from Wimbledon.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said "I was on the train from Wimbledon, where people left the carriage because there was a Chinese man with a mask on it.

"[It is] unusual because people are saying 'I have been attacked because people say I am bringing disease' and that is kind of worrying really."

The group says it has received reports of 16 incidents of coronavirus-related racism.

Mr Bennett added: "Where a disease originates does not explain the disease.

"We have to wash our hands of racism. I think it's important that people take a stand on this.

"The most important thing is unity not division."

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A union has also warned that teachers of Chinese and other ethnic minority origin are being subjected to racist name-calling, "banter" and intimidation in schools as fears of the coronavirus spread.

The NASUWT teachers' union said reports by its members of abuse, prejudice, xenophobia and racism in schools have increased since the outbreak reached the UK.

The union said there had been a report of groups of pupils playing an "unsavoury" game of tag named after the coronavirus.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Racism or bullying of any kind is completely unacceptable and there is no excuse for it in any circumstances.

"We have set up a dedicated helpline for education leaders, teaching staff and parents to answer questions about coronavirus related to education, complementing the advice being provided by Public Health England and the regular updates we have been sending to all educational settings since the start of February."