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Man coughs on police officers in NJ, tells them he has coronavirus, governor says

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Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 15:58:55-04

UNION TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A Union Township man is facing charges after he coughed on police officers and told them he has coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.

Police were taking the man into custody on domestic violation charges when he told the officers he had been traveling and was positive for coronavirus, according to Murphy. He is facing charges of disorderly conduct, obstruction and harassment, the governor said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the man had tested positive or if he was lying.

The state is cracking down on people who claim they have coronavirus as a way to threaten or instill fear in others. Murphy said such conduct would not be tolerated.

On Tuesday, the governor mentioned a similar incident in Manalapan, where a man coughed on a Wegman’s employee who asked him to step back from an open food display.

Last week, a New Jersey woman was charged after she allegedly coughed on officers and told them she had coronavirus, and “so do you now," according to police.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were over 4,000 cases of coronavirus in the state and 62 deaths.