Police are to reinforce patrols, and checks on mask stocks and other items that the government has requisitioned amid an outbreak of COVID-19 in China, while also enhancing efforts to combat disinformation, the National Police Agency (NPA) said yesterday.
Law enforcement units have been ordered to concentrate on containing the disease, and must fulfill their roles at customs and immigration control and border and port entry points, NPA Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) said.
They are to ensure that people who are ordered to undergo 14 days of quarantine remain in isolation, and make sure security at hospitals and medical clinics is maintained, Chen said.
“This requires careful, persistent work by law enforcement personnel, as orders are to treat the ‘Wuhan virus’ situation as if we were fighting a war,” he said.
Police have been tasked with daily inspections of markets and shops to stop hoarding of masks and medical items that have been requisitioned, the NPA said in a statement.
“Local law enforcement personnel are to increase patrols and security inspections at banks, financial institutions, jewelry shops, supermarkets, gasoline stations and convenience stores to protect money and consumer goods,” as thieves have taken advantage of a delayed resumption of businesses due to the outbreak, the statement said.
A crackdown on people breaking quarantine has resulted in 13 people being fined for breaching provisions of the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), the NPA said.
There have been 61 cases of disinformation or rumormongering relating to outbreak, with 44 people facing charges and 32 cases still under investigation, NPA officials said.
The NPA said it asked the Executive Yuan and health authorities to procure a supply of masks for law enforcement units, especially officers on street patrols and others who regularly deal with the public.
Police in Kaohsiung last week received 45,000 masks and similar measures are under way for other major cities, it said.
Meanwhile, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) has been collaborating with police to conduct sweeps of karaoke parlors, nightclubs, bars and other entertainment premises nationwide in the past few days, the bureau said.
CIB Crime Investigation Affairs Division head Chan Chih-wen (詹志文) said the sweeps were to ensure public safety.
The checks are for narcotics, firearms and other illegal items, which would help prevent violence, criminal activities and juvenile delinquency, as winter vacation has been extended until end of this month to prevent cluster infections at schools and universities, Chan said.
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