The Health Department in Johor has assured the public that news that the Wuhan novel coronavirus has reached Desa Tebrau is untrue. According to a post on its official Facebook page, the video that shows two people in white protective gear along with a patient purportedly infected with the virus is fake.
Meanwhile, the Facebook post—that has since gone viral—also advised the public to avoid shopping malls and night markets as a preventive measure.
The Johor Health Department made a police report to complain about the post, and called for the public not to share the post and cause more panic among the masses. The authorities also warned that the spreading of fake news is governed by Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. Offences under that section could lead to a maximum fine of up to RM50,000 or a maximum jail sentence of 1 year—or both.
Stop spreading fake news
There have been quite a number of fake news making the rounds on social media. The prevalence of fake news, of course, is a major source of panic—and false information for something as serious as the coronavirus outbreak is certainly something that can lead to dangerous situations.
There have been some outlandish rumours being spread, too. From advice to stay away from mandarin oranges, to chain messages telling you to avoid hospitals if you’re displaying symptoms of the virus, the list is endless.
The authorities have also been active in curbing the spreading of fake news, it must be said. A total of 6 people have already been detained for spreading fake news on the Wuhan coronavirus on social media, with authorities also warning of potential fines of up to RM50,000 for perpetrators.
At the moment, the latest official information can be referred to at the Ministry of Health’s official Twitter and Facebook pages—currently, 14 cases have been confirmed by the Health Ministry, including two Malaysians.
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