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UAE warns that spreading rumours about Covid-19 via social media is ‘punishable by law’

UAE warns that spreading rumours about Covid-19 via social media is ‘punishable by law’

Officials have warned against sharing videos on social media showing families stocking food and other grocery products

The UAE has warned those in the country to avoid spreading false information about the coronavirus outbreak.

“Spreading fake information and rumours is a crime punishable by law,” official news agency WAM quoted Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, the UAE’s attorney-general as saying.

He stressed that the government has been proactive in taking all the required precautionary measures to address the situation.

Several people have been circulating rumours while also sharing videos showing families stocking food and other grocery products.

“Such material triggers unnecessary fear and panic among residents,” he explained.

There was also false information doing the rounds on social media that people should stay at home and are not allowed in public places, said Al Shamsi.

“The UAE has taken all the necessary precautionary measures to prevent and contain the spread of the coronavirus. Spreading rumours about the virus on social media — deliberately or out of ignorance – causes panic and chaos in society, and those who’re doing this will face legal consequences,” he stated.

A number of people have already been apprehended for such “irresponsible acts”, he added.

“The role of the public prosecution is to maintain the safety of society and its protection from any causes of fear and panic.”

The UAE, which has recorded 98 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, has imposed several restrictions to contain the spread of the infection.

On Monday, the country also announced that it was temporarily suspending congregational prayers, including those offered on Friday, in all mosques, prayer facilities and areas of worship across the country.

Read: Prayers at mosques, other places of worship suspended in the UAE

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