Photo: Free Malaysia Today
In light of the recent Coronavirus outbreak, some people have a lot of time on their hands to cause even more panic... by spreading fake news!
Recently, social media was alarmed after an admin from Kuantan City’s Facebook page claimed that there was a positive case of the 2019-nCoV at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Hospital.
According to reports by the News Straits Times, the source of the posting came from the person’s cousin who was working there and from the nurses that attended to the quarantined people at the hospital, while also warning children to avoid crowded areas.
Pahang State Health director Datuk Dr Bahari Tok Muda was quick to denounce the claims made by the Facebook account, by ensuring all that there have been no cases of 2019-nCoV being treated at the hospital.
“Our investigation found that the patient is a Malaysian citizen receiving treatment for a normal coronavirus infection. The patient had also not travelled to Wuhan or China within the last 14 days before falling sick,” Bahari said in a statement.
As of 27 January, there has been no admissions involving anyone infected by the coronavirus in Pahang, as verified by the Institute of Medical Research and the National Public Health Laboratory.
The Facebook admin has since released a statement apologising over the posting that had stirred panic and confusion to the public.
Unfortunately, there are still many cases of fake news with regards to the spread of the coronavirus.
There has been similar irresponsible claims being made, of people allegedly being infected by the virus in Malacca, Terengganu and Negeri Sembilan.
In Malacca, the Health and Anti-Drug Committee Chairman, Low Chee Leong has clarified the test of suspected coronavirus case involving a seven-year-old boy of Chinese nationality was found to be negative after being tested at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.
As for Terengganu, State Health director Dr Nor Azimi Yunus has also denied a posting on Gabungan Anak Terengganu (Original) Facebook page by one “Ali Dapicey” that five people had been admitted to Sultanah Nur Zahirah (HSNZ) for coronavirus, upon their return from Wuhan.
In Seremban, a Whatsapp chain spreading fake news about a suspected coronavirus patient being admitted to the Tuanku Ja’afar Hospital was also refuted by the Negri Sembilan Health Deputy Director Dr Mohd Faid Rashid.
The government is aware of the severity in tackling the problem of fake news with regards to the spread of the deadly virus and has since issued a joint statement via The Royal Malaysia Police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to monitor and take action against those intending to cause panic and chaos in the country.
The public is also advised to check and confirm the validity of sources, especially those that aren’t issued by the Ministry of Health, when reading news about the coronavirus.
By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya