Covid-19 cough attacks now a criminal offence
Anyone who coughs on key workers as a deliberate threat or attack during the Covid-19 crisis will now face serious criminal charges, as the act is now considered a criminal offence.
Two men in England have already been convicted, and one jailed.
Coughs or spits directed at key workers are now to be considered crimes if they were meant to harm or cause fear. The offence is being treated as tantamount to common assault, which carries a prison sentence of around six months.
The warning came from the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales, and follows reports of essential workers being coughed at by people claiming they have the virus.
Max Hill QC said the full force of the law would be used:
“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 Crown Prosecution Service stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties.”
The CPS says it has prosecuted almost 20,000 assaults against emergency workers since legislation first came into force in November 2018.