Two detained in spitting incidents

In two separate incidents in Antwerp and Mechelen a man and a woman were arrested after they spat at other people.  Both appeared before an examining magistrate on Friday.

In recent months there has been a spate of incidents involving dozens of people who spat, coughed or sneezed at members of the emergency services or at other members of the public.

The 38-year-old woman was detained at Mechelen Station after spitting at a bus driver.  She acted in an aggressive fashion after the driver left his cabin for a breath of fresh air.

The 54-year-old man was arrested at the entrance to a reception centre for the homeless in Antwerp.  He first got into a row with a supervisor because he refused to keep his distance.  He then spat at a staff member after he was prevented from entering the centre. The staff member was wearing a mask, but saliva also reached his eyes.

Antwerp prosecutors speak of particularly antisocial behaviour that is entirely unacceptable.  People found guilty of spitting at others during the corona crisis have received jail terms of up to one year.