Offenders face up to two years in prison.

The CPS has warned people deliberately coughing on emergency service workers face up to two years in prison.

The CPS said coughing will be charged as an assault on an emergency worker, or common assault if used against other key workers.

Director of public prosecutions, Max Hill QC said: “Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have covid-19.

“Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties.”