A man has appeared in court charged with assault following an incident in Cork city in which he allegedly spat at a garda and told him he had "the coronavirus".
Adam Olden, 19, with an address at Leamlara Close, Togher, was arrested in the early hours of this morning.
He was brought before a special sitting of Cork District Court this afternoon charged with assault and two breaches of the Public Order Act.
Mr Olden applied for bail and gardaí said they were consenting to bail, with strict conditions, including that he abide by a curfew from 8pm to 6am, adhere to the Government's restrictions regarding staying within 2km of his home, and stay away from all intoxicants.
Sergeant Kevin Joyce told Judge John King, when asked what the allegation was, that the accused "spat at a member of An Garda Síochána and claimed that he had the coronavirus".
Judge King asked if Mr Olden had any symptoms of the virus or if he had been tested, and was told by the accused's solicitor Eddie Burke that he had not.
Inspector Pat Murphy said that "he’s claiming this morning it's a joke".
Gardaí were taking it very seriously and one member had to be put in self-isolation, with two taken off duty in all.
"He's taken two guards off the streets," the judge said.
"Emergency procedures had to be put in place," Inspector Murphy said.
Mr Burke said the the incident came about while gardaí were attending to a separate situation and his client was a young man who had never come to the attention of gardaí in the past.
The judge said, after hearing the allegation against Mr Olden, that he was "surprised" the State was consenting to bail.
The solicitor said it was because of his client’s previously good record that gardaí were happy to consent to bail, on very strict conditions. His client worked in a grocery shop, he said.
"If he’s claiming to have Covid-19, should he be at work at all," Judge King asked. "Should he be self-isolating?"
Sergeant Joyce said "he’s claiming this morning it was all a big joke".
Mr Burke said his client’s family had confirmed that he was not showing any symptoms but he would attend for any test that the State required him to take.
The sergeant confirmed that the State is looking for him to be tested.
Judge King remanded Mr Olden on bail, according to the conditions sought by the State, until next Wednesday’s sitting of the court, when Mr Olden is excused from attending.
He said that Mr Olden must present himself at his front window during the curfew period if gardaí check on his home; and give 24 hours written notice to the sergeant in charge at Togher Garda Station if leaving his address.
Ms Olden's mother, who was in court, acted as an independent surety for the bail bond.