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Man claiming to have Covid-19 arrested after spitting and coughing on pharmacy team

By Isabel Shaw

28 May 2020

A pharmacy team in Glasgow were physically and verbally threatened by a man who was later arrested for breaking ‘social distancing’ rules.

Earlier this month (May 8), a man entered the Scottish pharmacy and demanded he be supplied with a weekend dosage of methadone after refusing to comply with government-sanctioned social distancing rules.

After the pharmacy team challenged his drug request, he began verbally abusing staff before leaving the store.

On his return to the pharmacy, the 32-year old spat and coughed at members of staff. A member of the public intervened and removed the man from the premises – he then threatened to shoot the person and burn down the pharmacy.

Police officers were called to the incident and arrested the man at the scene. The man told the officers that he had coronavirus.

The man was placed in the police van where he struck his head on the seat in front and a second time with the police cuffs.

Police officers took him to the hospital to get his self-inflicted injuries seen to, he was then released back into police custody.

The man was later charged and remanded in custody.

The incident was raised with Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), who decided that the Police officers involved acted proportionally in dealing with the situation.

Since lockdown was imposed in March, pharmacy teams have reported an increase in cases of abuse.

This surge prompted the RPS (Royal Pharmaceutical Council) to write a letter to the National Police Chiefs’ Council, asking that pharmacy teams across the NHS are kept safe against all forms of aggressive, violent and abusive behaviour from patients and customers.

The PDA (Pharmacists’ Defence Association) has called for ‘zero tolerance needed to stop verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, racism, sexism and physical attacks’ on pharmacy staff.

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