Chinese prosecutors have been told to intensify efforts to deal with offenses related to imported cases of novel coronavirus after the country saw an increase in imported infections.
The Supreme People's Procuratorate, the nation's top prosecuting authority, raised the requirement on Thursday, when more imported cases were discovered on the Chinese mainland.
The newly reported cases took the cumulative imported figure to more than 300 on Saturday. Conversely, new infections on the mainland have been curbed, according to the National Health Commission.
Considering the rising risk of imported cases, Zhang Jun, prosecutor-general of the procuratorate, ordered all prosecutors not to relax in their epidemic control work, pay more attention to offenses related to imported infections and initiate prosecutions in a timely manner.
For example, people who do not truthfully report their health conditions at customs or falsify their health statement cards when entering the country may be charged with the crimes of disturbing border health and quarantine.
Those who do not abide by quarantine rules or who hinder anti-epidemic measures after entering the country may face criminal charges such as disturbing the prevention of infectious diseases and endangering public security by dangerous methods.
"We'll play a stronger supervisory role in curbing the spread of the virus at borders, taking people's health as a top priority and offering strong legal guarantees to public health security," the procuratorate's novel coronavirus prevention and control team said in a statement.
It said cooperation with other government departments was needed to form a joint force against the disease.
For instance, the procuratorate has established an information sharing system with health and quarantine departments at customs to help better understand imported infections, it said.
The procuratorate will publicize how some cases related to crimes hindering the prevention of imported coronavirus cases have been handled to enhance the public's legal awareness, it added.
Earlier this month, the procuratorate urged prosecutors to strengthen the supervision of public interest litigation against the illegal consumption of wildlife to protect wild animals and the ecology after the disclosure of several cases related to hunting and the illegal wildlife trade. The novel coronavirus is believed to spread to humans through the consumption of some wild animals.