Man Jailed for Spitting at Police While Claiming to Have Coronavirus

A man has been jailed in London after he spat at police officers and claimed to be infected with coronavirus while he was being arrested for attacking a woman.

Brandon Wallace, 21, was taken into custody after he assaulted a woman in her home in Barking in East London, on Monday, the city's Metropolitan Police said in a news release. Wallace also damaged property belonging to the woman, police added.

Police said Wallace was being put into a police van at around 11:45 a.m. when he spat at two officers and claimed he had COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

He was charged later that day for both assaults. While in custody, Wallace admitted that he did not have COVID-19 or any symptoms of the disease.

Brandon Wallace
Brandon Wallace, 21, was sentenced to six months in prison after he spat at two officers and claimed to have coronavirus while being arrested for attacking a woman. Metropolitan Police

He pleaded guilty to assaulting the woman and the emergency workers as well as to a charge of criminal damage at Barkingside Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and was sentenced to six months in prison.

Following the sentencing, Metropolitan Police East Area Inspector Alexis Manley warned that offenders who attack officers during the pandemic will be prosecuted and a prison sentence is "likely."

"Thousands of dedicated officers are working to keep Londoners safe at this extraordinary time, and among our priorities is to tackle all forms of domestic offending," Manley said.

"It says much about the attitude of this man that, in addition to targeting somebody close to him, he was also willing to make false claims about COVID-19 and to spit at officers. He has, at least, pleaded guilty to these offences.

Police officers walk past people walking to take their daily exercise allowance in St James's Park in central London on April 11, 2020. Nikllas Halle'n/AFP via Getty Images

"I hope he spends his period in prison to reflect on his behavior, and that his prison sentence sends a message to others who are willing to commit domestic offences and to target police officers whose job it is to protect Londoners. Such offenders will be arrested and put before the courts, and a prison sentence is a likely outcome."

There are more than 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.K. and more than 17,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Around 640 people have recovered in the U.K.

This infographic, provided by Statista, shows the countries with the most COVID-19 cases in the world as of April 22.

This infographic shows countries with the most COVID-19 cases. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.