An official from the Department of Justice on Tuesday stated that the people who try to intentionally spread the coronavirus to others could face criminal charges for their actions.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen spoke about the issue in a memo addressed to top Justice Department officials, law enforcement agency chiefs and U.S Attorneys from across the state. He said investigators could come across cases of “purposeful exposure and infection of others with COVID-19.”

He added that coronavirus meets the statutory definition of a "biological agent" and therefore, intentionally spreading the virus could be considered as acts that could potentially implicate the nation’s terrorism-related statutes. He also added that those who are found guilty of such acts would be facing charges under federal terrorism laws.

“Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has created a task force in order to address issues related to hoarding and price gouging of supplies that are urgently needed for the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, will be heading the task force that was set to pursue such issues along with other Department of Justice units.

During a briefing at the White House on Monday, Attorney General Bill Barr said hoarding of supplies like masks was considered a crime and will be prosecuted under the law.

However, according to memos issued by Barr and Attorney Rosen, the Department of Health and Human Services were yet to formally designate health-related items that are to be covered by the Defense Production Act.

As of Wednesday, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S was 55,225 and the death toll has reached 802, whereas 354 people have recovered from the virus. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has reached 425,493.

coronavirus infection contamination Photo illustration of coronavirus infection. Photo: geralt - Pixabay