Commissioner of Police (CP) Mohamed Hameed announced on Monday that Maldives Police Service will take criminal action against fearmongers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to CP Hameed, "individuals who spread false information on COVID-19 in Maldives that serves no legitimate purpose, but create fear and panic among the public" and "individuals who publicly harass or annoy persons with false accusations or misinformation pertaining to COVID-19 pandemic", will be subject to police action.
Urging all citizens to refrain from such expressions and actions, the commissioner noted that the objective of this decision was to "protect the dignity and privacy of all".
Authorities have already dispelled several rumours spread on social media amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in Male' City. National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) requested citizens to refrain from revealing patient identities on social media platforms, adding that most of the information revealed this way is falsified.
However, false news regarding the pandemic is still being circulated on social media, including pictures and other details of individuals that have "tested positive" for the virus.
As of now, Maldives records 67 confirmed and 51 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16 recoveries. Of the above, a total of 47 positive cases were found in capital city Male', one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 2.4 million people and claimed over 166,041 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 635,875 people have recovered.