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Canberra
Thursday, November 26, 2020

Criminal offences linked to COVID 19 in ACT

ACT Policing has reported several people have been charged with criminal offences for behaviour that has links with COVID 19 but not related to the health directions.

Two men have faced the ACT Magistrates Court charged with acting to cause public alarm. A woman has also faced court charged with assault after coughing in a police officer’s face and claiming to have COVID-19 when being arrested for another matter on the weekend.

Police are reminding the community that threats involving COVID-19 and spitting or coughing on emergency workers could end in serious penalties, including jail.      

Chief Police Officer for the ACT Ray Johnson said there has been a notable change in people’s behaviour in recent weeks to use the seriousness of COVID-19 to threaten and scare people about their safety.

“This callous behaviour will not be tolerated, and I would like to remind the public that coughing and spitting on ACT Policing officers or anyone is considered an assault. Assault is a criminal charge with serious penalties including jail time,” CPO Johnson said.

“Coughing and spitting on someone is disgusting at all times, and in the COVID-19 environment there is additional risk to safety.

To date, ACT Policing has received more than 740 reports of COVID-19 related incidents. No infringements have been issued.

Heading into the Anzac Day long weekend CPO Johnson said ACT Policing will “have a strong presence on our roads where we continue to see, with less cars on the road, people putting everyone’s safety at risk speeding at higher ranges”.

“We will also be out in our community, participating in compliance checks with government agencies and responding to other COVID-19 reports as needed.”

No new ACT COVID-19 cases
The Canberra community has been thanked for adhering to social distancing and current health directions following no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the ACT in the past 24 hours. The ACT’s total remains 104.

A total of 93 cases have recovered from COVID-19 and have been released from self-isolation. There is currently one COVID-19 patient in the Canberra Hospital. The remainder are isolating at home with ACT Health support.  

The ACT has recorded three deaths.

The number of negative tests in the ACT is now 7152.

ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman thanked Canberrans for their continued efforts but emphasised the importance of social distancing.

“The weather in the ACT is lovely this week so getting some exercise each day – even just going for a walk outside for some fresh air is important for both your physical and mental wellbeing,” Dr Coleman said. “To continue our good work to help stop the spread of COVID-19, I again ask Canberrans not to use playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor exercise stations and dog parks at the moment.”

The ACT Government has established a dedicated COVID- 19 website for all information about the health and economic response to the pandemic in the ACT. For further information visit www.covid19.act.gov.au

The ACT Government’s COVID-19 Helpline is live on 02 6207 7244 between 8am and 8pm daily.

People who are concerned and want further information on the virus, can also call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   

For details on how the ACT stats compare to other jurisdictions across Australia, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website. This information is updated daily.  

Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts