Spitting or coughing used as 'weapon' during pandemic

A $5000 on-the-spot fine for spitting and coughing on NSW health workers has been expanded to include other essential workers as the state's coronavirus death toll hits 29.

Spitting or coughing used as 'weapon' during pandemic

A $5000 on-the-spot fine for spitting and coughing on NSW health workers has been expanded to include other essential workers as the state's coronavirus death toll hits 29.

From tomorrow, police will be able to fine people who target all types of workers, not just those in emergency services or healthcare.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard described the act of spitting or coughing on someone as a "weapon" during the pandemic.

"Unfortunately, there have now also been incidents in which retail staff and transport staff have also been subjected to this disgusting, dangerous behaviour, and it will not be tolerated," Mr Hazzard said.

"Every worker in this COVID-19 crisis is now an essential worker and will have the added protection they deserve, including those in retail stores and those critical to our public transport system."

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association NSW/ACT Secretary Bernie Smith welcomed the move.

"We have got a member down in the Illawarra area who was refusing someone a product limit on a particular item so everybody can have their share and that customer spat on the face and in the mouth of the member," he said.

"It is vile and it is disgusting and unacceptable. It is one of many examples."

The union said its members had "borne the brunt of a huge upsurge in customer abuse" during the pandemic.

Other incidents include reports of a checkout worker in Sydney's west being spat on by a customer who was refused a refund.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

David Babineau, secretary of the tram and bus division of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union of NSW, said its members had also been abused.

"Frankly, it's disgusting in any circumstance but in the middle of the current health crisis it cannot be tolerated. Everyone has the right to go home safely from work and not wonder if they are bringing a potentially fatal disease home to their loved ones," Mr Babineau said.

The Berejiklian government also announced on Today it was pumping $25 million into fast-tracking statewide coronavirus research and clinical trials and $14 million into its small business advisory program Business Connect.

The announcement came after police arrested a 25-year-old man from Nowra on the NSW South Coast overnight for allegedly spitting at police officers and other offences.

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- Reported with AAP

Source : 9 News More   

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'We just want him back': Family plead for answers over missing son

A man who went missing at Victoria's Mornington Peninsula last year is now believed to have encountered "foul play", with his family stressing they want to find him whether he's dead or alive.

'We just want him back': Family plead for answers over missing son

A man who went missing at Victoria's Mornington Peninsula last year is now believed to have encountered "foul play", with his family stressing they want to find him whether he's dead or alive.

Safety Beach man Jacob Horton, 28, was last seen leaving a home at Drum Close in Frankston on June 27, 2019.

Victoria Police Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper said he didn't have a car or phone with him at the time.

But he is believed to have left the property with someone else in a car bound for Rosebud, before coming into trouble.

"Our strong belief is that unfortunately Jacob met with foul play on that night," Det Insp Stamper told reporters on Sunday.

Mr Horton had been involved in the local drug scene and low-level crime, and was often couch-surfing in the lead up his death.

Police are urging anyone with information on his disappearance to come forward, but particularly want to speak with others in the drug scene.

"It's a very difficult and complex area of the community to get into, when you start talking about people who are involved in drugs and crime. Clearly, police aren't their...favourite port of call," Det Insp Stamper said.

"CrimeStoppers is an avenue that you can utilise, you don't need to leave your name or address."

Mr Horton's father Michael said his son had started using marijuana at 15 before eventually using ice in the years leading up to 2019.

He said his son didn't deserve to be killed and that his family just wants him back.

"It's enormously important to have Jacob back, whether he be dead or alive, doesn't make any difference. We'd just rather have him back."

The missing man's phone was obtained by police that day and they have released a fresh photo they believe was taken that morning.

They are particularly keen to know who he left the home in Frankston with and exactly where he was headed, to build on the account given by those he had visited at the property.

Det Insp Stamper said such cases can leave families with a "torturous grief" that doesn't end until their loved one is found.

"We won't give in, we'll keep going," he said.

Source : 9 News More   

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