Bus Driver Brain Dead After Trying to Stop Passengers Boarding Without Mask

Police have arrested five people who reportedly attacked a bus driver in southwest France after he tried to stop the passengers from boarding the bus without wearing masks, as required on public transport in France amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The group, who were reported to also not have bus tickets, were said to have repeatedly punched the bus driver, in his 50s, when he tried to prevent them from entering the bus.

Police confirmed the driver was declared brain dead by doctors on Monday after arriving unconscious at the hospital following the incident, which took place in the city of Bayonne in the Basque Country region.

The driver was said to have stepped out of the bus before he was hit in the head by one of the people in the group.

Regional bus services were disrupted on Monday after several of the driver's colleagues refused to work in protest at the attack. The drivers at the protest were said to have condemned Chronoplus, the regional transport network company, for not having done enough to ensure the safety of their drivers.

Police have yet to issue a statement on the incident.

The driver reportedly attempted to prevent the group from also bringing a dog aboard the bus, union representatives told the France Bleu local radio station.

The mayor of Bayonne was also said to have condemned the "barbaric act."

Last week, a woman in Texas was caught on camera spitting on a 7-Eleven counter after the cashier refused to ring up her purchase because she was not wearing a mask.

The woman spat on the counter after complaining and yelling obscenities at the cashier, saying she has "a right" not to wear a face mask.

Last week, a woman claimed she was fired from a Cold Stone ice cream shop in Washington following a confrontation with a customer over the face mask requirement.

The employee was said to have received news of her termination via text message and the customer was reported to have received a Cold Stone gift card.

The employee noted: "We had received so many customers refusing to comply with store policy and yelling at us for something we can't control.

"Yes, I could've handled the situation more professionally but I don't think we should normalize the idea that 'the customer is always right' even when they're harassing employees," the employee added.

Nantes France bus face mask coronavirus
Women wearing a protective face mask walk past a bus with the display reading 'Mask is compulsory,' in Nantes, France on May 16, 2020. Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected over 11.4 million people across the globe, including at least 204,222 in France. Over 535,100 people have died globally, while more than 6.2 have reportedly recovered from infection, as of Monday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the portion of people who wore a mask in April and May amid the ongoing pandemic.

Face masks Statista

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and European Union.

statista, covid19, coronavirus
A graph comparing newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe. Statista