Sh5 million fine for those spreading rumours about coronavirus
Kenyans who are “spreading rumors” about the deadly Covid-19 (Coronavirus) are being tracked and will be arrested, the government has said.
On Sunday there some alerts which alleged that there was confirmed cases at the Kenyatta National Hospital and at Mbagathi County Hospital.
However, on Monday, Government spokesman Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said there is no reported case of Covid-19 in the country.
There have also been rumours that there are people of the Chinese origin being treated of the virus in Kenya and that the government is hiding the information from the public.
“It is criminal to spread such malicious and alarmist statements through social and digital channels. These fake and alarmist rumours have been forwarded to the cybercrime unit and DCI for investigation, arrest and prosecution of the authors and this spreading the same,” Oguna added in a statement,” Oguna said.
PRESS RELEASE on fake news about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the country. pic.twitter.com/SXgnriJsPF
— Spokesperson GoK (@SpokespersonGoK) March 2, 2020
Oguna also said all government communication on Covid-19 will come from the Cabinet Secretary for Health or the government spokesman or their appointed persons.
He spoke after a four-minute clip was circulated where a government official announced a confirmed case at Mbagathi Hospital.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an executive order that set up a 22-member emergency committee to guide the country’s preparedness for the disease.
The task force is spearheading preparation of national, county and private isolation and treatment facilities, as well as marshalling local and international human resources.
Globally, the virus has killed more than 3,100 people and infected over 90,000, but none in Kenya so far.
According to the Computer and Cyber Crimes Act, sharing fake news and propagating hate speech attracts a Sh5 million fine or a two-year prison sentence, or both.
If the government follows the law, many bloggers and Twitter users will find themselves in trouble.