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Dublin: 0 °C Monday 30 March, 2020
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Man (39) charged after claiming to have Covid-19 and coughing on police in Northern Ireland

The man is due to appear at Belfast Magistrate’s Court on the charges today.

PSNI officer at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.
PSNI officer at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.
Image: PA

A NORTHERN IRELAND man has been charged with attempting to commit grievous bodily harm after claiming to have coronavirus and deliberately coughing on police officers, the police service said today.

The man was held for common assault following a domestic incident in north Belfast on Wednesday, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

It is alleged he then told two arresting officers he had coronavirus before intentionally coughing over them.

“A 39 year-old man has been charged with common assault and two counts of attempting to commit grievous bodily harm,” a PSNI spokesman said in a statement.

The man is due to appear at Belfast Magistrate’s Court on the charges today.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Simon Harris said that a man and woman on the street in Dublin coughed at him deliberately and then “ran off laughing”.

“There’s absolutely nothing amusing about it – it’s quite pathetic,” he said. Harris said there seemed to be a “social media game” entailing videoing such acts.

He added that it would be dealt with using “the full vigours of all of the powers that the state has”.

Fianna Fáil’s James Lawless is calling for a serious conviction for those found guilty of deliberate coughing and spitting with intent to spread Covid-19. 

The Kildare North TD has submitted an amendment to be considered during today’s Dáil sitting to that effect

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