By Kaya 959 News
Authorities have vowed to remain on high alert to act against the illicit trade in COVID-19 medication, as well as personal protective equipment.
This comes after officials seized hundreds of fake COVID-19 vaccines following a global alert issued by Interpol.
The organisation issued an orange notice warning law enforcement to prepare for organised crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines.
It said the vaccines would be sold both physically and online.
Four people arrested
Officials in Gauteng seized 400 ampoules (vials) containing the fake vaccine at a warehouse in Germiston.
The vials are equivalent to 2,400 doses.
The police’s Brenda Muridili says officers also recovered a large quantity of fake masks and arrested four people.
“The suspects did advertise the sale of these vaccines… but they had not yet distributed or sold any as far as we know. We are in constant liaison with Interpol and they are also sending alerts to member states,” she said.
Tip of the iceberg
Interpol has sent out global alerts with details on how companies can identify counterfeit COVID-19 vials.
Police in China were also able to identify a network selling fake vaccines with the help of Interpol. Chinese police raided manufacturing premises and seized over 30,000 counterfeit vaccines.
Around 80 people were arrested.
Interpol has warned that countries need to be on high alert.
“Following our warning that criminals would target the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, both on and offline, INTERPOL continues to provide its full support to national authorities working to protect the health and safety of their citizens,” the organisation’s Secretary General Jürgen Stock said in a statement.