The potentially deadly Wuhan coronavirus is rapidly sweeping across China, infecting at least 30,000 victims and leaving more than 630 people dead in its wake.
For one quick-witted woman in China, however, the coronavirus kind of saved her life.
A woman in Jingshan City, Hubei province, awoke on the night of January 31 to find a male stranger in her bedroom. In her panic, she screamed for help, but her cries were muffled by the man, who pressed his hand over her nose and mouth, and strangled her by the neck. He then attempted to “commit an act of obscenity towards her,” the Jingshan police’s official account reported on WeChat.
In desperation, the woman faked a cough and said: “I just returned from Wuhan and already have symptoms of (the coronavirus).”
“That’s why I’m at home under self-quarantine,” she continued.
The assaulter hurriedly left the woman’s house after hearing what she said, but not before taking her phone and 80RMB ($11.45) worth of cash from her bag.
The woman filed a report about the incident at the Pingba police station on the same night. Around midnight, a 25-year-old man only identified by his last name Xiao, showed up at the station with his father to turn himself in.
Apparently, he had gotten into a fight with his family and ran away from home, and claimed that he broke into the woman’s house because he had no money.
The police detained Xiao after he confessed to breaking and entering, robbery, and attempted misconduct.
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This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.