Nurse punched, coughed on as sick attacks continue
A sickening assault on an assistant nurse has sparked a public appeal from police who said she was coughed on and punched in the face.
It is the fourth reported attack of its kind this week.
The 25-year-old was in a takeaway fish and chip shop on the Great Western Hwy at Blackheath about 4.30pm on Tuesday following a shift at an aged-care home when an older woman came in and allegedly "began deliberately coughing in her direction".
Police said the healthcare worker who was wearing her uniform as an "assistant in nursing" was again set upon a short time later.
"The healthcare worker was leaving the store when she was again confronted by the woman, who verbally abused her before punching her twice in the face," police said in a statement.
"The worker left the shop and immediately reported the incident to officers from Blue Mountains Police Area Command, who commenced an investigation."
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was disgusted frontline medical staff were being targeted amid angst over the coronavirus.
"Nurses and doctors are the frontline troops in this war against the COVID virus," Mr Hazzard said.
"If I had it my way, someone who abused these angels would be well and truly locked up. It's time for the community to stand up for our nurses and doctors."
Police are appealing for information to identify the woman wanted over the assault, saying she is described as being of caucasian appearance, aged in her 70s, about 150cm tall with white shoulder-length hair.
At the time she was wearing beige-coloured overalls with yellow stripes, a white shirt and a silver necklace and pendant.
The attack follows a number of coughing incidents this week, one which shut down Coffs Harbour police station after a man coughed on a police officer, claiming he had COVID-19.
Police are also appealing for public assistance after a man deliberately coughed on a supermarket employee on Tuesday about 7.30pm.
The 35-year-old female employee who was working at the store on Glenelg St, Raymond Terrace, helping customers adhere to social distancing rules, when a man and woman approached.
Police allege an argument took place and the man deliberately coughed on the employee.
Police have released images of a man they wish to speak to who may be able to assist with their investigation. He is described as caucasian appearance, between 170-180cm tall, with a shaved head, and goatee-style facial hair. He was wearing cream shorts and black thongs.
Anyone who knows the man or has information which may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Originally published as Nurse punched, coughed on as sick attacks continue