CPS prosecutes over 60 attacks on shop workers during COVID-19 lockdown

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A shopkeeper wears a protective mask while working at a convenience store in Stoke Newington on April 14, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Thursday said it has carried out 62 prosecutions involving assaults on shop workers during the first month of the lockdown to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were another 313 prosecutions for attacks on police and other emergency workers, it added.

The attacks usually involved officers and emergency staff being coughed or spat at by people claiming to have the virus.

“It is disgraceful that hard-working essential workers continue to be abused during a health emergency and I have warned repeatedly that anyone doing so faces serious criminal charges,” said Max Hill, the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Hill has warned that anyone coughing or spitting at emergency workers who said they had the novel coronavirus would face assault charges and possibly two years in jail.

On Sunday, police said they had quizzed a suspect over the death of a rail worker who died of COVID-19 after being spat at by a man who said he had the virus.

Britain announced the lockdown on March 23 and the CPS figures cover prosecutions up to the end of April.