A Russian prankster who faked collapsing from coronavirus on a crowded Moscow underground train is now facing five years in jail for the stunt.
The man, identified locally as Karomatullo Dzhaborov, was filmed falling down and appearing to suffer a seizure on a train in the Russian capital in recent weeks.
Initially, other passengers rush to help him but as he begins twitching they scramble to escape the carriage.
A Russian prankster – named locally as Karomatullo Dzhaborov (right) – has been arrested after faking a coronovirus seizure on the Moscow metro
Video uploaded to a prank site showed Dzhaborov collapsing on the floor of the train as people rush to help him, before they turn and flee as he begins seizing
In the background of the footage, voices can be heard shouting that the man has coronavirus.
Footage of the incident was first posted on a prank site on February 2, but has since been deleted. It is unclear when exactly it was filmed.
Police subsequently issued an arrest warrant for the perpetrator with a man, believed to be Dzhaborov, arrested on Monday.
A search is sill underway for two accomplices who shouted about coronavirus, Moscow’s interior ministry confirmed.
The main suspect was detained on suspicion of criminal hooliganism, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine of 500,000 rubles (£6,000).
Dzhaborov’s lawyer Aleksey Popov said his client handed himself over to police after a warrant was issued, and never expected the situation to get so out of hand.
He also claimed that his client’s prank was simply to raise awareness of the coronavirus situation.
He said: ‘He has a bunch of videos on different topics that are important for our society.
‘His goal was to turn people’s attention to the fact that people need to wear masks and protect themselves from a dangerous virus.’
As people rush to help, two voices – believed to be Dzhaborov’s accomplices – begin shouting about coronovirus, causing passengers to panic
Dzhaborov’s lawyer Aleksey Popov said his client handed himself over to police and is cooperating fully, describing the incident as a prank gone too far
The new strain of the coronavirus, temporarily dubbed 2019-nCoV, originated in Wuhan in central China about a month ago from an unknown source.
It has since spread to more than 20 countries and affected more than 43,000 people around the globe.
There have been two confirmed cases of the virus in Russia, with 144 people quarantined in a camp in Siberia over fears they have the infection.
Health officials say the illness is capable of spreading before symptoms show and about 20 per cent of patients become severely ill.
The symptoms include fever, coughing, shortness of breath and can progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure.
By Monday evening the coronavirus death toll topped 1,000 – surpassing the number of deaths counted during the 2003 SARS virus outbreak.