Cambodia has slammed the purveyors of fake news by social media users and termed them more dangerous than the virus itself.
Cambodia has thus far confirmed a single victim with his three family members quarantined for observation but is now said to be recovering well and ready to be discharged soon.
Fake news spread by social media, especially Facebook, Twitter, and online portals and blogs have been having a field day spreading imaginary cases of additional cases in Koh Kong, Pursat, Phnom Penh and other places.
One blogger even dressed himself him in a raincoat and a hoodie, complete with a mask and entered the Russian Friendship hospital in Phnom Penh, on the premise of covering a story on alleged victims there.
This turned out to be false but his photon social media spread like wild fire. This and other purported cases prompted Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen to issue a stern warning to these social media fanatics and also to irresponsible journalists to stop their activities before action is taken for causing public panic and social chaos.
One claim that has gone viral online suggests the virus was part of China’s “covert biological weapons programme” and may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Malaysia has arrested five for spreading fake news about the coronavirus. Thailand has arrested two.
Numerous conspiracies have appeared since the outbreak – not to mention dubious health advice. There is currently no vaccine against the virus.
Another claim inaccurately linked the virus to the suspension of a researcher at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory.
The general public should reach a consensus that early identification, reporting, isolation, diagnosis and treatment is the best and most effective way to contain the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.