Multiple people in Canada face coronavirus related charges

KENNEBECASIS, N.B. - A man in New Brunswick who recently travelled to the Dominican Republic is facing an assault charge for allegedly coughing in another person's face after saying he was feeling ill.

Police said they responded to a call Thursday morning from a home in Rothesay concerning two people who had allegedly failed to isolate themselves after returning home from travelling abroad.

A 33-year-old man was arrested at the home for uttering threats and for assault after "purposely coughing in someone's face," the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force said Friday.

Police Insp. Anika Becker said the accused doesn't live at the home in question, but his travelling companion does.

Becker said another occupant of the home — a 41-year-old man — had complained about the pair's failure to self isolate, as required by the province. That's when the coughing started, Becker said.

Under the province's emergency rules for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone who returns to the province after travelling abroad must self-isolate for 14 days.

Becker said the accused was released on a promise to appear in court in Saint John, N.B., on July 9. He is also prohibited from having any contact with the victim.

As for the officers who responded to the complaint, Becker said all of them were wearing personal protection equipment, including masks, goggles and gloves.

New Brunswick declared a state of emergency on March 19 after Premier Blaine Higgs said too few citizens were following orders to avoid public gatherings.

"If anyone has concerns that someone is not self-isolating properly, they should not take matters in their own hands," Kennebecasis police said in a statement, adding that the province has established a toll-free non-compliance phone line.

On Thursday, police in western Newfoundland confirmed that a woman had been arrested for a second time after allegedly refusing to stay inside following her return from travel outside the province.

The 53-year-old was arrested in the Curling area of Corner Brook, one day after she was released from custody for contravening special orders under Newfoundland and Labrador's Public Health Protection and Promotion Act.

The woman has been charged with failing to abide by the special order and two counts of breaching a release order. She could be fined between $500 and $2,500 or jailed up to six months.

In Quebec City, police arrested a woman last week who they said was infected with the virus and was walking outside after being ordered to stay indoors.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in St. John's, N.L. closed all of its churches on Friday.

Archbishop Peter Hundt says the churches are now offering mass and other spiritual rites through Facebook.

In Halifax, the local transit authority says bus service has been reduced because of a lack of staff. The municipality says riders can expect delays and route cancellations.

The union that represents transit workers confirmed Thursday one of its mechanics was among those who've tested positive for COVID-19.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the ferry service linking the province with Nova Scotia will be imposing strict passenger limits as of April 1. Marine Atlantic says its ferries will carry only 100 passengers per crossing to ensure social distancing.

Screening measures will also prevent anyone from boarding a ferry if they are showing symptoms, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2020.

— By Michael MacDonald in Halifax, with files from Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.