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Global Times

Shanghai authorities debunk latest rumors on coronavirus outbreak

Global Times

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/13 16:33:27

Refuting misinformation is an essential part of the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia (CODIV-19) as some misleading information, to some extent, can trigger panic among the public during the time of this crisis.

In Shanghai, authorities and media are busy busting rumors and disseminating facts to ease unnecessary fear. The local government holds daily press briefings to maintain transparency. Rumor Buster, an online platform, jointly launched by Shanghai Municipal Internet Information Office and Jiefang Daily, continues to fact-check and update relevant information related to the epidemic.

The Global Times looked at five rumors that were recently circulating in Shanghai, which have now been busted by relevant government departments.

Rumor: disinfection with alcohol leads to a fire

Fact: the cause of the fire is still unknown

An accidental fire broke out at a home in Shanghai's Putuo district Wednesday morning, which was later extinguished by local firefighters. Social media posts claimed the cause of the fire as alcohol, that was used by the family to disinfect their house.

Shanghai Xiaofang, official Weibo account of the city's firefighting authority, said Wednesday the cause of the fire was still under investigation. "The family said it has no alcohol," it added.

Firefighters put out the fire within 30 minutes of receiving the report and rescued five residents trapped in the residential building. No one was reported killed or hurt in this accident.

Rumor: a person jumped out of the building to escape quarantine

Fact: he jumped to evade debts

Two men in Shanghai's Minhang district circulated a video clip of a person jumping out of a residential building on social media Tuesday, claiming the person is from Central China's Hubei Province, the epicenter of the CODIV-19 epidemic, and he jumped to escape a compulsory 14-day quarantine.

The person attempted suicide not to escape the quarantine but to evade his debts that he incurred from gambling, Minhang police clarified on its official Weibo account Tuesday evening.

Police arrested the two rumormongers Wednesday who confessed their wrongdoing.

The person who attempted suicide was sent to hospital, and is currently out of danger, police said.

Rumor: swarms of CODIV-19 patients drove to Shanghai

Fact: no one with abnormal temperature entered Shanghai through the set checkpoints

A rumor recently surfaced claiming many non-local CODIV-19 patients drove to Shanghai for treatment, which made some citizens anxious.

The gossip, claiming these patients entered the city on February 9 via Huaqiao checkpoint bordering Shanghai and East China's Jiangsu Province, was refuted by the Shanghai government on Tuesday.

The checkpoint, monitored by volunteers from Shanghai's Putuo district, saw no people with abnormal temperature pass on February 9, according to a statement released by Putuo authority.

"No people with fever entered Shanghai through this checkpoint on February 7 or 8," said the statement.

Rumor: photo showed non-locals climbing over the fence to sneak into Shanghai

Fact: no such incident as depicted in photo transpired

A photo of some people climbing over a fence was circulating on social media on February 9. The caption claimed people in this photo were climbing over the fence of a highway exit in Shanghai's Jinshan district to sneak into the city.

The Jinshan authority stated the same day the photo was not taken in this district.

"The photo was firstly spread online on February 4 and resurfaced this (February 9) morning," said Jinshan district information office. "We haven't found any such activity as depicted in the photo at any highway exits in our district after investigation."

Rumor: CODIV-19 patients escaped from a hotel

Fact: no such incident occurred

Shanghai government clarified a rumor on February 7, which claimed two CODIV-19 patients escaped from a hotel on Linqing Road in Yangpu district.

The hotel was drafted into use as a quarantine center for some guests from Hubei Province for a compulsory 14-day isolation period, media reported. Rumormongers claimed two guests were being chased by local police for escaping from the hotel after they were diagnosed with CODIV-19 pneumonia.

The hearsay was dispelled by Yangpu district police, including health authority the same day, saying the incident as claimed never took place.

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