A 44-year-old man in Shimane Prefecture has been arrested after he pretended to have contracted the novel coronavirus and threatened to spread it at a local train station, NHK reported.
The man, identified as Hitoshi Karino, allegedly told employees at JR Kisuki Station in the city of Unnan on Friday afternoon that he would spread the virus if they come within a 1-meter radius of him, the report said.
Karino also reportedly took issue with the fact that an information center within the station was closing for the day, saying, "is this closed because I'm infected with the coronavirus?" He made a show of coughing as he made these remarks, and was arrested on charges of fraudulently obstructing train station employees from performing their duties, the broadcaster said.
Shimane Prefecture has no confirmed case of COVID-19 infections, but Karino's behavior prompted railway employees to disinfect a lounge area where he had been, according to the report.
Karino reportedly told police he has, in fact, never even undergone testing for the virus, and that he had exhibited no symptoms such as a fever on Friday.
The Unnan resident has admitted to the charges, with the police currently investigating his motive, NHK said.