ROCKVILLE, MD — Asian American students and parents are being targeted, harassed and bullied amid fears over the new coronavirus, a Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman told Patch.

In an interview Tuesday, MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said students and their families have both seen and been victims of bullying in the wake of the growing coronavirus outbreak, which includes five Montgomery County residents.

The virus, officially called COVID-19, emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 and has since infected more than 118,000 people and killed more than 4,200 around the world as of Tuesday afternoon. In the United States, authorities have reported at least 959 confirmed cases and 28 fatalities. Maryland has had no fatalities related to the new coronavirus and had nine confirmed cases as of Tuesday.

The State of Maryland has five confirmed positive cases in Montgomery County, three positive cases in Prince George's County, and one positive case in Harford County.

Don't miss updates about the new coronavirus in Maryland. , Montgomery County school officials condemned the bullying and harassment, and encouraged community members to or to a school employee.

"We have heard from some community members that there is targeted teasing, harassing and bullying of certain groups of students about the coronavirus," MCPS wrote. "This behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

As of Tuesday afternoon, , meaning that they can spread between people and animals. In humans, symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

In the event of a local coronavirus outbreak, school officials said they are prepared to teach children remotely.

According to MCPS, the Department of Health and Human 五福彩票6688下载 decides which schools, if any, need to close.