Lyon, November 20: The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol, has issued fresh guidelines for law enforcement agencies across the world in view of the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak. In its latest guidelines for police personnel, the Interpol has cautioned that criminals may send letters laced with coronavirus to political leaders and prominent personalities or spread the virus by coughing or spitting on objects. Interpol Postpones Its 89th General Assembly Meet, Slated to Be Held in UAE in December 2020 Amid COVID-19 Outbreak.

"Despite limited risk, a few cases of threatening letters allegedly contaminated with COVID-19 targeted political figures. This modus operandi could also target other vulnerable groups," the Interpol said. It added that attempts to deliberately spread the virus by spitting and coughing on surfaces and objects have been reported. "Certain infected individuals may deliberately move from affected areas to non-affected areas, despite their medical condition and any travel restrictions in place," the international agency warned. Fake COVID-19 Kits Seized, 407 People Arrested From 77 Countries in International Raids, Says Interpol.

The Interpol suggested that police personnel involved in maintaining law and order or in-charge of protecting prominent public figures should be made aware of these risks. "Postal and front-desk services should be informed of the biological threat posed by suspicious packages and follow the recommended protection measures," it recommended.

The Interpol also said that the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for fast cash as predatory criminals take advantage of the high market demand for personal protection and hygiene products such as masks and sanitizers. Hence, it said, the enforcement agencies should pay particular attention to identify fake or counterfeit items and the general public should be informed about false or misleading online advertisements related to these products.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 20, 2020 06:25 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website