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'Completely unacceptable' - People claiming Covid-19 symptoms are spitting at police, hospital staff

There have been multiple reports of hospital staff, supermarket staff and police officers being deliberately coughed and spat on during the coronavirus pandemic, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says.

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Police Commissioner Andrew Coster warns culprits face up to 14 years in jail if they actually make someone sick. Source: 1 NEWS

Eight police staff are in isolation after being spat at by people who claimed they tested positive for Covid-19 or had symptoms of being unwell.

Mr Coster says it's a "small minority" of people showing the behaviour, but blasted it during a press conference this afternoon as "completely unacceptable".

One of the incidents was in Timaru during the weekend, when an officer was spat on during a routine traffic stop, according to police.

The officer has since tested negative for Covid-19 and has returned to work.

The man who allegedly spat on the officer has been charged with assault, a police spokesperson told 1 NEWS.

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Another incident was in Silverdale, north of Auckland, at around 10pm last Monday.

While being arrested, police said a man kicked three officers and claimed he had Covid-19 before allegedly spitting at them multiple times.

The three officers are in isolation while awaiting the man's test results, to find out whether he does have the virus or not.

Two police cars are also temporarily out of action while they're decontaminated.

"I am appalled by the reckless and dangerous actions of this man," Waitematā district commander superintendent Naila Hassan says.

"We take this matter extremely seriously and we will not tolerate anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to spit at our staff."

That man has been charged with assault with intent to injure and resisting police.

Deliberately spitting or coughing on someone risks the charge of infecting with disease, Mr Coster says.

Culprits face up to 14 years in prison for the crime.