September 23, 2020

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Coronavirus: Experts warn of bioterrorism after pandemic

The Council of Europe has warned of a potential increase in the use of biological weapons, like viruses or bacterias, in a post-coronavirus world. Terrorists would not forget “lessons learned” during the pandemic.

Security experts from the Council of Europe on Monday warned that the global coronavirus outbreak may increase the use of biological weapons by terrorists in the future. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how vulnerable modern society is to viral infections and their reverberations,” the council’s Committee on Counter-Terrorism said in a statement, reported by the newspapers of Germany’s Funke media group. 

There is no reason to believe that terrorist groups will forget lessons learned from this pandemic, the committee said. 

“The damage would be quick and potentially global,” it added. 

Greater potential for harm

German security agencies have yet to detect any indications that such attacks are in the works, the statement said. 

However, the deliberate use of disease-causing agents — like viruses or bacterias — as an act of terrorism “could prove to be extremely effective.”

Damage to humans and economies could be “significantly higher” than that of a “traditional” terrorist attack. 

European states need coordinated effort

The council’s security experts called on European states to react with a stronger, coordinated response to this threat. 

They specifically called for the 47 Council of Europe member states to prepare to fight a biological weapons attack by engaging in training exercises.

UN Secretary General Antionio Guterres said in April he sees a growing danger of bioterrorism attacks that aim to create a pandemic similar to that of the coronavirus. 

The Council of Europe is based in Strasbourg, France. Its aim is to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. 

kp/rt (dpa, AFP) (DW)