How scammers behind million-pound trade in fake coronavirus protection gear and medicine are putting lives at risk – The Sun

FAKE coronavirus masks, testing kits and drugs pose a global threat that are putting thousands of lives at risk.

Soaring demand in the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a multi-million pound trade spring up, with criminals plying their vile trade on the back of people’s fears.

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Interpol has now warned that one of the five global threats from the coronavirus is the fraudulent and counterfeit trade in personal protective equipment and anti-viral pharmaceuticals.

With China and India, the world's two largest producers of medicine, in lockdown, demand now outstrips the supply, opening the door for counterfeit drugs.

Interpol says it has made 121 arrests across 90 countries in just seven days, resulting in the seizure of dangerous pharmaceuticals worth over £11m.

The illicit trade in such counterfeit medical items during a public health crisis, shows a total disregard for people's lives.

Director general Jürgen Stock said: “The pandemic provides incentives and opportunities for criminal groups. Law enforcement is learning precious lessons and fast.”

"The illicit trade in such counterfeit medical items during a public health crisis, shows a total disregard for people's lives.”

Police in Thailand meanwhile have seized 45,000 fake Covid-19 test kits, 350,000 medical masks, and 1,200 infrared thermometers were seized which were on sale for inflated prices, local media reported.

The nearly £1 million haul was seized in the capital Bangkok and two Chinese nationals have been arrested.

The Thai authorities say anyone using the testing kits would have shown a negative result regardless of whether they were infected with Covid-19 or not.

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration has said that products claiming to be Covid-19 test kits online at the moment are all fake.

Fake masks are also big business and Europol, the EU’s crime agency, says around the world authorities have seized nearly 34, 000 counterfeit surgical masks.

A new investigation has revealed thousands of Instagram accounts are flogging masks that are potentially lethal.

The study from social media analysts Ghost Data has found that at least 10,450 accounts on the social media site have emerged in the past few months, most of which appear to be based in China.

“There are no guarantees that advertised products are genuine and safe, not to mention the possibility of health and safety threats for a potential buyer,” they wrote.

Chinese-made “N95” respiratory masks were advertised online as having been certified by U.S. safety regulators turned out to be fake, an investigation by Global News Canada revealed.

N95 respirators are masks designed to seal around the nose and remove 95 per cent of tiny airborne particles.

They are typically used by health-care workers and paramedics.

But in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemicsupplies of quality-tested N95 masks have become scarce as panicked citizens have rushed to buy face masks.

The fakes were pulled from websites in India, Pakistan and a half-dozen other countries, it was reported.

Kerry Bowman, a University of Toronto bioethicist, said: “It’s very frightening that people are trying to make money at a time like this, in this way.”

Disturbing video has also emerged of a thermometer that gives out made up readings.

When opened up, the thermometer’s “sensor” is not even connected to the part showing the readout.

Even with the sensor removed it almost comically still continues to bleep and produce readouts.

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