Regina man charged with vehicle theft, telling police he had COVID-19

The Regina Police Service has charged a 30-year-old man after allegedly stealing a vehicle and threatening officers, saying he was positive for COVID-19.

Police say they saw a van driving at a high speed in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood shortly before midnight on Saturday.

Officers were not able to stop the van nor get its licence plate information. A short time later, the van drove by a marked police unit parked on 4th Avenue between McTavish and Argyle Streets, swerving towards police.

Police said the officer sitting inside the car was able to avoid getting hit.

At about the same time, Regina police’s communication centre received a call from a resident, saying their vehicle was stolen.

Police said the description of the stolen vehicle matched the van.

Along with the stolen auto unit, police eventually located the van in the 1400 block of Rae Street. The driver fled the vehicle, but officers were able to catch the man with the help of the canine team.

While transporting the suspect back to the station, police said he told officers he had tested positive for COVID-19 and said he would cough on them.

The man was not showing any symptoms, police said. However, with the use of PPE, officers took him into custody.

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John Aaron McDonald faces charges that include theft of a motor vehicle, uttering threats and assault a peace officer.

McDonald appeared in provincial court on Monday.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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