"Coronaspitters" to be immediately tested for Covid-19

Stock image of a Covid-19 coronavirus microscope analysis
Stock image of a Covid-19 coronavirus microscope analysis DmyToDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Members of the public who deliberately cough or spit at police officers will be forced to be immediately tested for coronavirus, if a new emergency measure put forward on Friday wins parliamentary approval.

The law has been put in place after a spate of spitting and coughing incidents aimed at police, bus drivers, and store personnel were recorded in recent weeks, prompting concerns over the transmission of the coronavirus.

The test will include the use of a saliva swab and paper cup to allow for ascertaining quick results. “This way we can immediately pick those people out in order to be able to protect the police properly," Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus told news agency NOS after a cabinet meeting on Friday. “They take that mucus with a cotton swab, just as you see on CSI!”

The emergency measure, which was approved by the Cabinet on Friday, is expected to be brought in front of parliament in the coming weeks, Grapperhaus added.

This comes the same day that the Ministry of Justice and Security announced that any member of the public who is convicted of assaulting a civil servant will no longer be eligible for a community service sentence. The law, which was originally in place only for perpetrators of violent crime, has today been extended to include all civil servants, including police, healthcare workers and firefighters.