People who threaten or assault frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic could face up to 10 years' jail under new laws set to be passed through State Parliament from today.
The law is designed to protect doctors, nurses, police officers, paramedics, prison officers and other emergency service workers.
WA Attorney General John Quigley said anyone who assaulted an officer would face up to 10 years behind bars, and those who threatened an officer face seven years.
"This Bill makes it clear that assaults on and threats to essential people on the frontline of this crisis - among them police officers, hospital workers and prison officers, risking their own safety and health to protect us all - in the context of COVID-19 will result in serious consequences," he said.
"Unfortunately we have seen a number of distressing reports of people across the country claiming they have COVID-19, deliberately coughing or spitting on innocent people who are simply doing their jobs.
"Our frontline staff in essential and emergency fields are working tirelessly around the clock at great personal risk to themselves and others to keep our community safe.
"People who deliberately show disregard by putting our frontline workers at grave risk or fail to self-isolate as required and putting others in the community at risk, will not be tolerated and will face the full force of the law and harsh penalties.
"We are in extraordinary times and we need to take extraordinary measures. This means changes to our laws that can be applied to a State of Emergency upon us right now and into the future."
The new laws follow calls from the WA Police Union last week for a six-month mandatory prison sentence for people claiming to have COVID-19 who threatened or spat on police.