Crown Prosecutor: Coronavirus Cough Attacks Punishable with Jail Time

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People who spit or cough at others as a threat to give them coronavirus can be arrested for common assault in the United Kingdom and face up to two years in prison.

The ruling by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) came after a spate of attacks on medics and police officers. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Max Hill QC said: “Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.

“Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties.”

So far two men have been convicted, one of them jailed, for coughing or spitting at police officers in England whilst claiming to be infected with the deadly pneumonia-like virus. Another man has been charged in Northern Ireland for the crime of allegedly coughing towards two police officers, according to the BBC.

The Guardian reports that as well as first responders, shop workers and vulnerable citizens have also been subjected to being spat or coughed at by those claiming to have coronavirus.

In one instance, a group of teenagers spat at an RSPCA officer while she was trying to rescue a swan. Leanne Honess-Heather said five youths aged between 16 and 17 approached her in Hull on Saturday. When she asked them to step back, “They seemed to take offence to this, which led to two of the group spitting directly into my face, going in my mouth and eyes, as they yelled ‘have corona bitch’ at me.”

On Monday, police arrested three male teenagers who had allegedly coughed at and assaulted an elderly couple in Hitchen, Hertfordshire, in the middle of the afternoon on Friday. The woman in her seventies was left with a black eye.

Emergency vehicles have also been the subject of attack. Earlier this week, ambulance drivers in Ramsgate, Kent, found that vandals had drilled holes in the tires of six ambulances.

Thieves are also targetting NHS staff. A spate of muggings across the country have been reported, with nurses especially targetted for their staff identity cards. Thugs have been stealing them in order to access priority shopping and freebies that supermarkets and food outlets have been offering to doctors and nurses as tokens of thanks for their work in the fight against coronavirus.

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