Social media has helped spread positive messages and shed some light on a particular topic or issue. Sharing information is easier than ever, as well as finding it. However, we sadly aren’t surprised that social media has also been taken over by fake news, myths or conspiracy theories about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the public not to be misled by rumours or fake local news on social media on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov).
We’ve listed out 10 fake local news items that have gone viral about the Wuhan coronavirus and could be misleading people right as we speak.
1. THE BED-RIDDEN MAN
A photo of a man lying on a hospital bed reported to be infected by the virus has been confirmed as fake news after the photo spread through WhatsApp and went viral.
2. PAHANG HOSPITAL
According to the Pahang Medical Director, there is no Wuhan coronavirus case reported in any hospital in Pahang at the moment, and the WhatsApp message of a suspected patient in Kuantan is fake.
3. SEBERANG JAYA HOSPITAL
The Penang Exco has confirmed that claims there is a Wuhan coronavirus patient in Seberang Jaya Hospital is fake news as Penang hasn’t received any Wuhan coronavirus patients yet.
4. MALACCA PATIENT
The state government of Malacca also denies there is a case involving an individual said to be a 7-year-old Chinese boy staying in Metra Square Ayer Keroh.
5. ALERTED AREAS NEWS
The claim of alerted areas including areas within Sungai Buloh, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam is also fake, stated MMA Putrajaya.
6. TERENGGANU PATIENTS COMING BACK FROM UMRAH
The alleged umrah congregation member warded in Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital’s ICU has been confirmed as fake news by MMA Putrajaya.
7. KPJ SEREMBAN
KPJ Seremban denied having any Wuhan coronavirus patient in their hospital as fake lab reports went viral online.
8. PATIENT REFERRED TO KUANTAN HOSPITAL
The Twitter post of an alleged Wuhan coronavirus patient being referred to a hospital in Kuantan is also fake, said the Pahang Medical Director.
9. TUANKU JA’AFAR SEREMBAN HOSPITAL, NEGERI SEMBILAN
Deputy Director of Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar Seremban denies there is a recorded case of a Wuhan coronavirus patient in their hospital as claimed by fake news WhatsApp messages.
10. TERENGGANU PATIENT IN SULTANAH NUR ZAHIRAH HOSPITAL
A post on Facebook claiming 5 individuals were admitted to Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital Terengganu is fake, stated the Terengganu State Health Department.
So far, PDRM and MCMC have identified 4 individuals to help their investigation on the spread of fake news across various social media platforms. These fake news items could cause unnecessary panic and cause the authorities’ work to deteriorate.
MMA urged the public to be cautious when reading and spreading the news, especially those coming from sources other than MMA itself. To check the latest news regarding the coronavirus, the public should resort to the Malaysian Medical Association or WHO International websites.
According to Astro Awani, charges can be made under Section 233 Media and Communication Act 1998 to allocate RM100,000 fine or one-year jail time or both to those convicted guilty of spreading fake news.
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