31 Mar 2020

Man claiming to have Covid-19 spits on police officers

4:49 pm on 31 March 2020

Three police officers have been put into isolation after a man they arrested spat at them and said he had Covid-19.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Police arrested the 30-year-old man in Silverdale last night after being called to a family harm incident.

While being placed in a patrol car, he kicked out at officers and the car, and then spat at the officers while claiming to have the virus.

The officers have been put into isolation, while the cars involved are being decontaminated.

The man was tested for Covid-19 this morning.

See all RNZ coverage of Covid-19

Superintendent Naila Hassan said she was appalled by the man's actions, and he had put the health and safety of officers at significant risk.

"I am appalled by the reckless and dangerous actions of this man," she said.

"We take this matter extremely seriously and we will not tolerate anyone who thinks it's acceptable to spit at our staff.

"Regardless of the outcome of testing, we now have three police officers in isolation, and two police vehicles currently off the streets for decontamination, instead of being out there keeping our communities safe when they are needed most.

"The officers will remain in self isolation until the result of testing is known and we are making sure they are okay."

The man has been charged with assault with intent to injure, and resisting police.

Hassan said if he was proven to have Covid-19 and infected the officers, he could face a charge of infecting with disease, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

"It is just not okay to behave in this manner towards our frontline staff at any time, but this is especially heightened during the current climate," she said.

"There will be serious consequences for such actions."

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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