Britain said on Thursday it had prosecuted 6,500 people for coronavirus-related offences in the first six months following the nationwide lockdown last March, with most relating to assaults on emergency workers.

The Crown Prosecution Service said 1,688 people were charged with assaulting emergency staff, with many relating to police officers being coughed, spat at or bitten, or hit with heavy objects when they tackled suspected rule-breakers.

There were also another 1,200 people charged between the start of April and end of September for breaking specific rules to stop the spread of COVID-19, including a man who was caught travelling to solicit the services of a sex worker.

“Particularly appalling is the high number of assaults on emergency workers still taking place and I will continue to do everything in my power to protect those who so selflessly keep us safe during this crisis,” Max Hill, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said.

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