Carriers of the Wuhan coronavirus may face criminal charges if they spit at others in public, according to the Public Security Department of Hubei province.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, the department stated that those who intentionally spread the pathogen to other people by spitting -- and therefore pose a threat to public security -- could face criminal proceedings in serious cases.
Suspected patients who refuse to be screened, quarantined or treated and who cause transmission to others as a result, could also face charges.
Currently there have been 4,586 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Hubei Province -- the epicenter of the virus -- with 162 deaths. Worldwide the infection rate has exceeded 7,000.
The announcement will be effective immediately.