Fake news fans panic over Covid-19

The writer hopes the arrests of those who spreads fake news will send a strong message that if you spread lies about the virus, you will go to jail.
The writer hopes the arrests of those who spreads fake news will send a strong message that if you spread lies about the virus, you will go to jail.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

The spread of fake news about the novel coronavirus online is reversing the work done by the health department in educating people about the outbreak.

Several videos claiming Covid-19 does not kill or does not exist, or some conspiracy theory about what the authorities are supposedly not telling the public have been shared widely on social media platforms.

Swift police action has led to the arrest of people behind the spread of false information. A man was arrested last week after he claimed there was "nothing called corona here" in SA.

The 36-year-old was apprehended in Hammanskraal, Pretoria after posting a recording of himself making a mockery of efforts to prevent the spread of the virus with more than 100 others at a street party.

Another man was nabbed yesterday after he called on residents to refuse to be tested for Covid-19.

The man, who had identified himself as Stephen Birch from Cape Town, claimed the testing kits were contaminated. His arrest came after a weekend where a string of videos bizarrely claimed that people were not dying of Covid-19 but were being killed by radiation from the 5G network.

All these are carrying false information and are causing unnecessary panic among the public and we hope the arrests will send a strong message to our communities that if you spread lies about the virus, you will go to jail.

Our government has done very well in communicating about the pandemic. From when the first case was confirmed there has been transparency and since then we have been getting daily updates on the coronavirus.

Yes, you are mostly bored and stuck in your houses but there are many things to do to keep yourselves busy other than spreading fake news that will leave you with a criminal record.

Covid-19 is real. By yesterday statistics released by the World Health Organisation showed that it had infected more than 1.2million people worldwide, killed more than 70000 and about 270000 had recovered from it. These included local stats of 12 lives claimed and over 1600 people who have tested positive.

The proper channels for authentic information about the virus are the department of health, WHO, and your trusted news platforms. Stay at home, wash your hands and be safe.

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