DIGEST

Spitting? And at supermarket workers and police? How did we get here?

No. Just no. Spitting is not, or ever has been, acceptable. Photo: Shutterstock
No. Just no. Spitting is not, or ever has been, acceptable. Photo: Shutterstock

We know these are unprecedented, stressful times but what is it with spitting?

The fight or flight response is one thing. It's widely understood to be a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.

But spitting? And at supermarket workers and police? How did we get here?

There seems to have been an outbreak of spitting, or alleged spitting, across the country.

A woman will face a slew of charges after an incident in a Vincentia supermarket yesterday. Similarly disturbing incidents have occurred in Nowra, Newcastle, Canberra and Ceduna, in South Australia.

As of this month threaten or assault frontline workers in WA and you could now face a 10-year jail term while only days ago anyone caught coughing or spitting on health workers, police, pharmacists, paramedics or other public officials in NSW will be stung $5000 on-the-spot fine or locked up for six months.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said: "How incredibly ridiculous [it] is that anybody could think it is acceptable to spit or cough on frontline healthcare workers, health officials, police, indeed any of our border force officials."

Nationally the COVID-19 update from Health Minister Greg Hunt was reasonably positive as fewer than 100 people contracting the virus in the past 24 hours. As of lunchtime, 6089 Australians have tested positive, 260 are in hospital, 82 remain in intensive care and 35 are on ventilators. The death toll stands at 51.

The troublesome Ruby Princess cruise ship, now berthed near Wollongong, had its black box seized as criminal investigations continue while authorities the country over have pleaded with people to stay at home over Easter.

Tasmanian sports stars lent their weight to that campaign, too. And if you're not going to listen to the likes of David Boon and Matthew Richardson then perhaps being buzzed by police helicopters should do the trick.

The same message came out on the NSW-Victorian border today when a police chief and MP joined forces to essentially say: stay home. It was reiterated times over.

And the carrot for good behavior came from the federal government.

While the national cabinet is examining when and how restrictions may be relaxed, the Health Minister said, Australia was in a stage of consolidation and suppression regarding the virus.

"We haven't changed our guidance over the six month period, but where we can take early steps that are safe, then we will obviously look to do that," Minister Hunt said.

In the meantime, if the prospect of an Easter at home is daunting, maybe this will help.

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This story Spitting? And at supermarket workers and police? How did we get here? first appeared on The Canberra Times.