An elite police anti-corruption unit has redirected its efforts to spearhead the national battle against coronavirus, Ynet has learned on Wednesday.
The Etgar Unit, which is considered one of the most prestigious branches in Israel Police's anti-corruption apparatus, ceased its routine operations against serious automobile crimes to focus on exposing unauthorized gatherings and other offenses pertaining to the Public Health Order.
Before the breakout of the pandemic, the unit was mainly tasked with handling recidivist car theft gangs and protecting consumers from auto-related fraud and abuse.
However, as authorities found themselves in need of quality intelligence about illegal gatherings and other breaches of Health Ministry directives, police have allocated the unit's resources and personnel to help the cause.
Etgar investigators collect data about future gatherings, protests and other events that pose serious danger of spreading COVID-19 and convey it to other police departments to stop them before taking place.
The unit is also tasked with stopping grifters who use the pandemic to turn out a quick profit such as people selling fake coronavirus test kits or faulty coronavirus PPE (personal protective equipment).
Case in point, Etgar investigators exposed earlier this week a Health Ministry worker who allegedly accepted bribes from people who were placed in isolation after being exposed to a confirmed coronavirus patient in return for taking them out of the ministry's records before finishing the quarantine period.