Public Asked to Stop Spreading Fake News on COVID-19 Outbreak

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The CEO of JFK Medical Center, Dr. Jerry F. Brown

The management of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Hospital (JFK) has rubbished a report circulating on social media that it has cautioned the general public to remain indoors as of Saturday, March 21, 2020, due to an alleged plan by government to further spread the deadly Coronavirus by carrying out a special kind of spraying all across Monrovia and its environs.

In a four-paragraph disclaimer, JFK authorities said the information about government further spreading the COVID-19 by spraying the air is “false, misleading and counterproductive” to the collective efforts aimed at preventing and further seeing the spread of the deadly virus disease.

“The public is hereby advised to ignore those messages and desist from spreading them further to family members and friends on social media or in their various communities,” the disclaimer said.

The purported social media circulated message in question reads (verbatim):

“This is a message from John F. Kennedy Hospital: According to John f. Kennedy doctors, everyone should stay indoor tomorrow [March 21, 2020] up to 11 p.m. till the sun rises up, because the Liberian government has decided to spread the corona virus early tomorrow morning (March 22) by 5:00 a.m. please be careful within your communities and counties people has already receives money to spread the corona virus. share this infromation to your families, friends and loveones to save lifes tomorrow (J.F.K) love you all Liberians.”

JFK, meanwhile encouraged all residents, citizens and foreign residents within the borders of Liberia, to continue observing and practicing the preventive measures, including the regular washing of hands with clean water and soap as well as sanitizing of hands and keeping a social distance from each other at all times as the fight against the deadly COVID-19 continues.

Adding his voice in a bid to dispel the rumor of spraying Coronavirus on Liberians, Dr. Mosoka Fallah, Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) called on those who are spreading misinformation in the midst of such a global health emergency to stop doing so. He also voiced his support of Information Minister Eugene Nagbe’s declaration that those found spreading false information should be arrested and detained.

“You have to stop because you are an extreme enemy to this state,” Dr. Fallah said. “It is not good for this country because you bring confusion and generate distrust. Only by trust in the public will we be able to find the contacts. So please stop doing this. As the Minister of Information said now, you will not go free if you keep on doing this because you are an enemy to this state. This is are passionate appeal. We are not doing any spraying from the air. If and when we ever decide to do so, we will let the public know. It will not be secretly done.”

Since the Government of Liberia announced the third confirmed case of the coronavirus in the country, it became only a matter of time that health authorities would institute additional measures such as the suspension of large gatherings including schools, churches, mosques and entertainment centers.

Today, in a declaration of national health emergency, the Ministry of Health released a list of 15 rules and regulations that will apply immediately and will remain in effect for the next 21 days. These include the suspension of school, church, mosque and entertainment activities, while other businesses in the banking and food services sector, as well as merchandise providers (i.e. supermarkets and other stores) are required to service not more than 10 persons at a time in the store.

Unlike the the Ebola pandemic that affected just a few countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and DR Congo (origin of the Ebola virus disease), COVID-19 has left a significant toll in some of the most developed countries, including China (where it started), Italy and the United States. COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s statistics as of Saturday March 21, 2020, over 284,000 cases are confirmed globally and of the number, 11,871 deaths are reported.

The United States of America (USA) has so far recorded over 18,900 cases and of the number, at least 266 persons have died.

Italy, a developing country in Europe is currently the hardest hit country in the world with 4,825 deaths reported as of March 21, 2020.

Sadly for Italy, in two days (March 21 and 22), 625 and 793 persons died respectively.

Italy’s death toll has now surpassed China’s Wuhan Province, the former epic center of the COVID-19.

So far, Liberia has yet recorded 3 confirmed cases with no death reported yet as the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with other partners are , including the security sector are doing they can to see Liberian and all others currently in the country remain safe and protected against the COVID-19.

Author

  • David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

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