28 March 2020

Two Canberra men charged after making COVID-19 threats

| Michael Weaver
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An ACT Policing officer in Civic.

Police have arrested two men for making threats to the public in Civic. Photo: File.

Two men have been charged by police following separate incidents where they threatened and coughed or spat on people while alleging that they had the COVID-19 virus.

The charges follow a number of on-the-spot fines being issued throughout Australia to people for offences relating to new laws to limit the spread of the virus.

A 57-year-old Hackett man was arrested at about 3:00 pm yesterday (27 March) after he was asked to leave a venue in Civic.

He allegedly refused, and shortly after, spat on a number of tables. The man then made a statement that he was infected with COVID-19 and that everyone else at the premises would have to be tested.

The man was arrested and charged with acting to cause public alarm.

A second man was arrested at about 8:00 pm when he became irate with staff at a separate place, also in Civic. He allegedly coughed towards staff and continued to do so through gaps in shutters closed by the staff.

The man, a 28-year-old from O’Connor, was arrested by police and charged with acting to cause public alarm.

Both men will appear in the ACT Magistrates Court today (28 March).

An ACT Policing spokesperson said there is no information to suggest either man is infected with COVID-19 or has had contact with an infected person.

“Police are reminding the community that threats involving COVID-19 will be treated seriously and penalties, including jail time, can be imposed,” the police spokesperson said.

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