Two workers in NSW have been deliberately coughed on in separate incidents this week with police threatening on-the-spot fines for anyone disobeying COVID-19 directions.
A 35-year-old female supermarket employee on Tuesday evening was assisting customers to comply with social distancing inside a Hunter Region store when she was approached by a man and woman at the register.
A verbal altercation broke out between the man and the female employee before he allegedly deliberately coughed on her at the Raymond Terrace supermarket.
Police say the man, who then left the store, had a shaved head and goatee-style facial hair.
On the same day, a 25-year-old assistant nurse was wearing her uniform at a takeaway shop in the Blue Mountains when an older woman began coughing at her.
As she was leaving the store, the older woman verbally abused her and punched her twice in the face, NSW Police say.
Members of the NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association are reminding the community they are doing everything they can to look after patients as confirmed COVID-19 cases rise in regional NSW.
"Please do not treat nurses, midwives and other health workers like they are infectious," association general secretary Brett Holmes said in a statement.
"These trained professionals should be respected and must not be abused, spat on or assaulted as they move through our communities, to and from their workplaces."
NSW Police Minister David Elliot says such "disgusting acts" potentially put the lives of workers and their families at risk and could result in fines of $1000 and two years in jail.
"This kind of dangerous behaviour needs to stop immediately," he said in a statement on Thursday.
Police now have the power to issue infringement notices of $1000 to individuals and $5000 to businesses for disobeying a number of COVID-19 ministerial directions.