Covid-infected Letters? Interpol Warns Nations of New Threat That Can Target Political Leaders
A man passes Interpol signages at Interpol World in Singapore. (Image for representation)
The novel coronavirus, that has wreaked havoc across the world could also be used to target political leaders in several countries, including India, the international police organisation, commonly known as Interpol has warned in its latest set of guidelines.
Citing reports of "individuals spitting and coughing in the faces of law enforcement officers, health practitioners and essential worker to intimidate them", the international agency has warned law agencies in India and 193 other member countries that "Covid-infected letters" might be sent to political figures and individuals, a report in Hindustan Times said.
“Attempts at deliberate contamination by spitting and coughing on surfaces and objects has been reported.”
This modus operandi, the agency said can also be used to target other vulnerable groups. However, Interpol did not mention any specific instances where aforementioned type of letters were sent to anyone of political stature.
Warning its member states further, Interpol said that often individuals may knowingly move from Covid-19 affected areas to non-affected areas despite even though travel restrictions are in place and they also might not be physically up to par.
It said that instances of individuals claiming to sell contaminated samples of body fluids online have also been reported, thus causing a major health risk.
The security agency, following these risk factors also listed out precautions that can be undertaken by the respective nations' security agencies.
It said that those who are in-charge of protecting prominent public figures should be made aware of these risks. It added that the law enforcement officers should take particular care when approaching uncooperative individuals and wear PPE kits.
Postal and front-desk services should be informed of biological threats posed by suspicious packages and follow the regular protection measures, Interpol said.
Earlier, CBI has alerted the police and other law-enforcement agencies across the country about an Interpol input warning about racketeers selling fake hand sanitisers and scamming people by posing as suppliers of PPE and other COVID-19-related medical items
Interpol had warned that several organised criminal groups have mushroomed internationally to make money using illicit activities from banking viruses to ransomware and cheating as representatives of COVID-19 protection gear.