News, Culture & Society

Manhunt for shirtless man who ‘deliberately’ coughed on shop worker during social distancing stoush

Cops hunt shopper accused of deliberately COUGHING on a Woolworths worker when she asked customers to abide by social distancing rules

  • Hunt is on for a shirtless man said to have deliberately coughed on worker
  • The female supermarket worker was helping customers with social distancing   
  • ‘Dangerous behaviour needs to stop immediately’: NSW Police Minister 
  • Minister says this could be ‘common assault’ and result in two years’ jail 
  • Police warn they will issue spot $1000 fines to enforce new coronavirus rules  
  • Businesses face spot $5000 fines if they break the ministerial directives 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A hunt is on for a shirtless shopper who police say deliberately coughed on a supermarket worker during the coronavirus pandemic in New South Wales.

A 35-year-old woman was working at the checkout of a supermarket at Raymond Terrace north of Newcastle, helping customers with the new social distancing rules when the shirtless man and his female partner approached at 7.30pm on Tuesday.

The supermarket had new social distancing markers on the floor to help customers with the new coronavirus rules but the man allegedly approached the counter within the 1.5m allowed and was asked to move back.

Police are hunting for this man who allegedly deliberately coughed on a supermarket worker

An argument broke out before the man deliberately coughed on the female staff member, police said on Thursday.

The shirtless man was pictured on security camera footage wearing cream shorts and black thongs and holding his female partner by the hand. 

Police Minister David Elliott, urged the public to dob in the alleged rogue cougher. 

‘This kind of dangerous behaviour needs to stop immediately. It’s potentially putting the lives of workers and their families at risk,’ he said on Thursday in a NSW Police statement.

‘This isn’t a time to practice poor hygiene habits,’ he said.

‘For a disgusting act like this, you could find yourself charged with common assault and jailed for up to two years.’ 

Police are investigating and have asked the public to help them find the man. 

Police say the man got into an argument with the female staff member who was helping customers with the new social distancing rules

Police say the man got into an argument with the female staff member who was helping customers with the new social distancing rules

NSW Police have described the man as of Caucasian appearance with a shaved head and a goatee, about 170-180cm tall.  


New South Wales: 1,219

Victoria: 520

Queensland: 443

Western Australia: 231

South Australia: 235

Australian Capital Territory: 53

Tasmania: 42 

Northern Territory: 8


DEAD: 13

If anybody has information about the man they are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

NSW Police reminded the public on their website that severe penalties apply to the new coronavirus rules, called ministerial directions, that cover everything from travel to mass gathering and social distancing.

‘The Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) provides NSW Police with the power to enforce these orders,’ NSW Police said on their website.

‘It is an offence for a person to fail to comply with an order, and severe penalties apply.’

NSW Police said they can issue immediate fines of $1000 for people and $5000 for businesses if they break the ministerial directions. 



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