A man has been charged for allegedly claiming he had COVID to avoid going to work in Newcastle.

Police say the 23-year-old man from the Illawarra sent a text message to his employer on August 2 saying he tested positive to the virus so he couldn’t go to work.

The fake result sent the construction site into lockdown and workmates into isolation.

Later that day, the man allegedly sent another text to his employer advising him his second test returned a negative result.

Acting Superintendent Brad Ainsworth says investigations revealed the man never had the virus.

“He has been charged with conveying false information that a person or property is in danger. 

“It’s under the Crimes Act and carries five years penalty and he will appear in Wollongong Local Court on 14 September,” Supt Ainsworth said.