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Americans who 'purposefully expose and infect' others with coronavirus could be charged as TERRORISTS, new Justice Department memo declares

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 5 days ago Andrew Court For Dailymail.com

a statue of a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Americans who deliberately expose and infect others with coronavirus could face federal terrorism charges, according to a new memo sent out by the Justice Department. The memo was signed by Deputy AG Jeffrey Rosen (back right). The Justice Department is headed by AG William Barr (center)

Americans who deliberately expose and infect others with coronavirus could face federal terrorism charges, according to a new memo sent out by the Justice Department. The memo was signed by Deputy AG Jeffrey Rosen (back right). The Justice Department is headed by AG William Barr (center)
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Americans who deliberately expose and infect others with coronavirus could face federal terrorism charges, according to a new memo sent out by the Justice Department. 

The document, signed Wednesday by Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and sent out to US attorneys and law enforcement heads across the country, declares that: 'coronavirus appears to meet the statutory definition of 'biological agent' under 18 U.S.C., [which means that] such acts could implicate the Nation's terrorism-related statuses'. 

'Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated,' the memo further stated. 

It comes as the coronavirus crisis continues to deepen across with country, with almost 60,000 Americans testing positive to COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. 

More than 800 people have died in relation to the highly-contagious virus.

The Justice Department memo was released one day after a New Jersey man was charged with making terrorist threats after he allegedly coughed on a supermarket employee while claiming he was infected with coronavirus. 

George Falcone, 50, was charged for terrorist threats in the third degree over the incident, according to the office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. 

The third-degree terrorism charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison.  

Falcone denies he has COVID-19, and has denied he coughed on the supermarket worker. 

Meanwhile, there have already been several other incidents in the US where people have exposed themselves to others while knowing or suspecting that they were infected with COVID-19. 

Earlier this month, a woman flew from Boston to Beijing, with a stopover in Los Angeles, while allegedly concealing her coronavirus symptoms. 

The Chinese national, 37, is accused of gobbling down anti-fever medicine at LAX to suppress her high temperatures before boarding the 13-hour flight back to her homeland with her husband and son. 

She later tested positive to COVID-19 in China, and now faces up to three years in prison in that country for possibly infecting others on board her flights and at the various airports she transited through.  

Elsewhere, an elderly recently took a JetBlue flight from New York to Palm Beach, Florida, while reportedly awaiting the results of his coronavirus test. 

Upon arrival in Florida, he told airline crew that he had tested positive for the virus. 

He has not been charged.   

The Justice Department does not make explicit whether perpetrators must actually  have a confirmation of a COVID-19 diagnosis to be charged with terrorism-related crimes. 

Elsewhere in the Justice Department's new memo, Deputy AG Rosen identifies a range of criminal and fraudulent activities that have been cropping up in relation to the coronavirus outbreak. 

These include reports of fake COVID-19 apps that install malware, social media scams seeking donations, and the sale of fake testing kits and 'immunity pills'. 

Rosen calls for state and local agencies to coordinate in the fight against various crimes pertaining to coronavirus, stating: 'Capitalizing on this crisis to reap illicit profits or otherwise preying on Americans is reprehensible and will not be tolerated'. 

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