Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 3 April 2020

Australian charged over 'prank' coronavirus cough on police

More than 2,000 Australians have so far tested positive for Covid-19 as the pandemic brings the country to a standstill

An Australian man has been charged over a “prank” in which he coughed on a police officer on purpose while pretending he was infected with the new coronavirus as a friend filmed the incident, the authorities said.

The man, aged 21, went into a police station at Coffs Harbour, a coastal city about 525 kilometres north of Sydney, on Tuesday and approached the 71-year-old officer.

“[He] deliberately coughed on the woman and claimed he had Covid-19, while a friend filmed,” police said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The police station was closed and isolation protocols put in place while the authorities checked his status. It turned out he did not have the virus that has infected more than 2,000 Australians and brought most of the country to a standstill.

The man was charged with stalking or intimidating with the intent to cause fear of physical harm, and resisting or hindering a police officer.

He was granted bail to appear in court on May 6.

This week, the country’s third-largest lender, National Australia Bank, said it dismissed an employee who falsified a positive coronavirus test result, sparking an evacuation of its offices.

Updated: March 25, 2020 02:32 PM

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