A Kildare TD has said that people need to be reminded that it is a serious offence to cause another person to believe that they have become infected with a disease.
Deputy Lawless, a barrister by profession, said he has been made aware of teenagers and young people deliberately coughing into the faces of other people and spitting at them in an effort to intimidate and frighten them.
The "corona challenge" sees young people film themselves coughing into peoples faces and posting it on the social media app Tik Toc.
He explained: "This really is too serious to be explained away with a 'boys will be boys' attitude.
"People are desperately frightened of these thugs who are laughing and jeering about having COVID-19 while coughing directly into people’s faces – it’s disgusting.
"There are grounds for this in the statue books.
"Under section six of the non-fatal offences against the person act 1997 it is an offence to spray, pour or put onto a person blood or any fluid or substance resembling blood, leading a person to believe that they have become infected with disease as a result.
"Section one of the act makes specific reference to contaminated fluid and section two covers the intentional or reckless application of force in liquid form.
"In the midst of this crisis it’s unfortunate that we would even need to remind young people that by carrying out these reprehensible acts they could actually be convicted of a very serious crime.
"It's time for parents to step up, they need to make sure their children are aware of the consequences of their actions."