Two NSW men have been charged after allegedly coughing on police officers and then claiming they had the coronavirus in separate incidents.
In the first, William West, 21, was arrested after allegedly entering a police station and deliberately coughing on a 71-year-old female station officer – all while his friend filmed them.
Mr West will appear in court in May after being charged over the incident at Coffs Harbour police station on Tuesday.
“While inquiries were being made regarding the man’s claims, the police station was closed, and the necessary isolation protocols were put in place,” a police spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Further inquiries revealed Mr West did not have the COVID-19.
He was charged with stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical harm – which carries a maximum jail term of five years – and resisting arrest.
The Coffs Harbour local was granted bail.
Meanwhile, an alleged drink driver is accused of coughing in the direction of a police officer and telling them he had COVID-19 to try to avoid a breath test in Muswellbrook.
The 42-year-old was charged with high-range drink driving after allegedly recording a blood alcohol level of 0.274 – more than five times the legal limit.
He was spoken to after police noticed his Holden Commodore stopped in the middle of the road at Muswellbrook on Tuesday.
When he was asked to submit to a breath test “the man claimed he had COVID-19 and intentionally coughed at the police officer”, police said.
He will appear in Muswellbrook Local Court on April 6.
The incidents come amid a spate of similar episodes in which the goal is commonly a quest for hits on social media.
In the United States, two teenagers filmed themselves coughing on produce in a grocery store before uploading the video to social media.
Elsewhere in the US, a man was charged with making terrorist threats in Missouri after making a video in which he licked items at Walmart to mock fears over coronavirus.
Many people are questioning why more isn’t being done to keep children and teenagers at home when they are supposed to be social distancing.