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South Africa, China seize fake Covid-19 vaccines: Interpol

International desk || shiningbd

Published: 13:03, 4 March 2021   Update: 13:04, 4 March 2021
South Africa, China seize fake Covid-19 vaccines: Interpol

Security officials in China and South Africa seized thousands of counterfeit doses of the coronavirus vaccine, the global police agency Interpol revealed on Wednesday, reports Aljazeera.

The international police force said in a statement that 400 vials, equivalent to about 2,400 doses, containing the fake vaccine were found at a warehouse in Germiston outside Johannesburg in South Africa, where officers also recovered fake masks and arrested three Chinese citizens and a Zambian national.

“Since COVID-19 reached the shores of South Africa, the government has adopted an integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach,” said Brigadier Vish Naidoo, South African national police spokesperson, according to the Interpol statement.

“This, together with our association with counterparts from all Interpol member countries, is proving to be very effective as we have seen in the arrests for foreign nationals attempting to peddle fake vaccines to unsuspecting people within South Africa.”

In China, police successfully identified a network selling counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines in an investigation supported by Interpol, which has 194 member countries, it said. Police raided the manufacturing premises resulting in the arrest of some 80 suspects and seized more than 3,000 fake vaccines on the scene, it said.

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to vaccine security. Chinese police are conducting a targeted campaign to prevent and a crackdown on crimes related to vaccines,” a spokesman for the Chinese ministry of public security said.

Interpol earlier this year issued an “Orange Notice” warning authorities worldwide to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online. “Whilst we welcome this result, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine-related crime,” said Interpol Secretary-General Juergen Stock.

Interpol said it was also receiving additional reports of fake vaccine distribution at nursing homes.