People who claim to have COVID-19 are reportedly using the disease to intimidate police. In a statement on Tuesday, Nova Scotia RCMP confirmed that some officers had been threatened with coughs, an act which can actually result in criminal charges. So, if you’ve developed a cough in Nova Scotia, keep it to yourself!
On Tuesday, Nova Scotia RCMP were forced to issue an incredibly unusual statement, in response to COVID-19 related threats that some officers had received.
In the March 31 notice, Cpl. Jennifer Clarke explained, “In the past several days, RCMP officers have reported being threatened to be coughed on by members of the public who claim to be COVID-19 positive.”
While no charges have actually been laid so far, Nova Scotia RCMP confirmed that coughing on a police officer would be considered assault, and criminal charges would be appropriate.
From now on, threats like these will be treated on a case-by-case basis, and police will be cracking down on anybody who takes such action.
"A threat to transmit the COVID-19 virus is a threat to the well-being and health of our members, which is a criminal offence," Clarke explained on Tuesday.
She went on to add that actually carrying out these threats would be deemed Assault on a Peace Officer, which is a pretty serious charge.
#NovaScotia RCMPNS officers threatened with COVID-19 contamination https://t.co/FKO8EBH2VA— RCMP, Nova Scotia (@RCMP, Nova Scotia) 1585673649.0
Unfortunately, it’s not only Nova Scotia RCMP who have been dealing with similar COVID-19-related threats to police officers.
Just last week, Kennebecasis Regional Police Force in New Brunswick announced that they had arrested a man in Rothesay, after he deliberately coughed on someone while feeling unwell.
Reports suggest that the man had recently returned from a trip abroad, when a neighbour reported him for failing to practice self-isolation as mandated by new federal regulation.
When an argument broke out, the man deliberately coughed on his neighbour, before being arrested by police for assault.
Across Canada, local police forces are now dealing with threats and crimes that were unprecedented prior to COVID-19.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, a 53-year-old woman was arrested last week after refusing to self-isolate when she returned from an international vacation.
Her refusal to comply with Canada’s Quarantine Act could result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to six months.
Concluding their statement on Tuesday, Nova Scotia RCMP noted, "We all have a role to play in contributing to public safety during the current state of emergency."
As of Tuesday afternoon, Canada had 8,486 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.