Interpol warns of organised crime threat to COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online

The Interpol, a global police co-ordination agency, has warned that organised criminal networks could be targeting COVID-19 vaccines.

Interpol, which is headquartered in France, said it had issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries, warning them to prepare for organised crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online.

The development comes amid the United Kingdom (UK) authorising the use of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the first in the world, with some other researchers coming closer to approval and global distribution.

The notice outlines potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft, and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines. The agency said that it also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling, and administering fake vaccines.

“As governments are preparing to roll out vaccines, criminal organizations are planning to infiltrate or disrupt supply chains,” said Jurgen Stock, Interpol Secretary-General.

Interpol said that identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential.

The agency also warned of the production and distribution of unauthorised and falsified testing kits as testing for the virus will become of greater importance with international travel gradually resuming.

“The need for coordination between law enforcement and health regulatory bodies will also play a vital role to ensure the safety of individuals and the well-being of communities are protected. Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives,” Stock added.

Punjab: From Diljit Dosanjh to Harbhajan Singh, celebs extend their support to the farmers’ protests

Celebs come together for farmers

A host of actors, singers, songwriters and sportspersons from Punjab have expressed their solidarity with the farmers in the ongoing protests in the national capital. Farmers from all over the country have come together in Delhi to protest against the new agricultural laws implemented by the Centre. Initiated by the farmers of Punjab, the protest has now been joined by people from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

From lending their voice to the farmers’ stir to putting out tweets and messages in their support on social media, here’s how the Punjabi film fraternity and sportspersons have supported the movement of the farmers in their fight against the new farm laws.

Diljit Dosanjh

Punjabi heartthrob Diljit Dosanjh is actively supporting the farmers on his social media handles by sharing messages for them and information about the protests. Recently, when Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar made a snide remark that the farmers have a Khalistani link, Diljit hit back at him saying, “We are farmers, not terrorists.” He also shared a series of pictures from the protests and asked if the farmers looked like terrorists to anyone. Diljit has also hit out at Kangana Ranaut for her misleading tweet about one of the protesters. Kangana had labelled her a protest-for-hire, who was available to take part in protests for Rs 100, also misidentifying her as the daadi of Shaheen Baug. The protester in the photo is actually a senior citizen from Bhatinda. Kangana was forced to delete the tweet after she received a massive backlash on it. But she has still not apologised for the false claims she made in it.

Gurdas Maan

Renowned Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan reiterated that India exists only because its farmers exist. He also prayed for their well being. “Kisaan hai, teh Hindustaan hai. Sarbat Da bhala hovey (sic),” he wrote.

Ammy Virk

Singer Ammy Virk asked the people to support the farmers in large numbers. He wrote that if people love themselves and love humanity, then they must come out in support of the farmers. He mentioned that people from all around that world can extend their solidarity even by a single tweet or message, and they do not necessarily need to hit the streets to stand by the farmers.

Gippy Grewal

Gippy Grewal expressed his solidarity with the farmers and reiterated, “No farmers, no food”. Urging everyone to take care of themselves, Grewal asked more number of people to divert their attention towards the farmers and lend them support. He also shared a video of Gurpreet Ghuggi requesting the farmers to not get provoked by any means and to peacefully continue the protest for their rights.

Harbhajan Mann

Singer Harbhajan Mann announced that he has taken off to Delhi to participate in the protests alongside the farmers. “Off to Delhi to participate in the peaceful protests with our farmers. It’s heartening to see a wide array of the public join & support this cause. Farmers are not just the backbone of our or any nation, but also a part of many of our’s identity,” he tweeted.

Jasbir Jassi

Jasbir Jassi shared a picture of an army personnel deployed in the national capital to maintain law and order hitting a protesting farmer with a baton. He wrote that the government has propped up the soldiers of the country against the farmers of the country and nothing can be more shameful than that.

Honey Singh

Rapper Honey Singh too shared a picture of a farmer standing in his field and prayed to God for the protesters. “My prayers with the farmers. Oh God, please bless them,” he wrote. December 3rd will be the 8th day of the farmers’ protest. They have braved the cold, water cannons and lathis, making an appeal to the government to do away with the three new legislations that were recently rammed through Parliament. Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh is to meet Home Minister Amit Shah in the capital today. A few rounds of discussions with the farmers’ representatives have yielded no result so far.

Ranjit Bawa

Ranjit Bawa has changed the name of his Twitter account to “I Stand With Farmers’ and has been constantly tweeting out in their support. He also shared a picture of himself serving food to the protesters and wrote, “As a farmer, it’s our social responsibility to feed the people who are in need. We are farmers we feed the nation. So please respect the farmers and stand with them (sic).”

Harbhajan Singh

Team India cricketer Harbhajan Singh became the latest celeb to voice his support to the farmers’ protests. Sharing a cartoon of the farmers protesting in Delhi, holding placards reading ‘We are farmers, not terrorists’, Harbhajan wrote, “I support our farmer brothers.”

To avoid falling victim to online scams, Interpol said, “It is important to be vigilant, be skeptical and be safe, as offers which appear too good to be true usually are. Always check with your national health authorities or the World Health Organization for the latest health advice in relation to COVID-19.”

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