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Government warns purveyors of fake news

The government has warned that it will deal firmly with individuals spreading fake news about the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The cabinet held a meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta who directed law enforcement agencies to pursue and arrest individuals spreading false information on the deadly disease.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said there were people spreading malicious rumours and falsehoods o coronavirus situation in the country on the internet and “I am appealing to them to stop”.

“But because I know empty appeals will not work, we will proceed and arrest a number of them to prove our point and of course since they will have something to report regarding coronavirus, we will oblige them by taking them to Mbangathi where they will report because that is where issues of coronavirus can be handled,” the CS warned.

Kagwe said over 600,000 people have been screened at different places including airports and other points of entry and 173 people have been tested for the virus of which seven were found to be positive.

The government acknowledged the media whose platforms are being used to air educational programmes for school children and for awareness creation on the global pandemic and urged all to cease from posting falsehoods on social media.

“I want to appeal to members of the public to desist from any form of misinformation. The social media has been awash with all sort of rumours including that we are locking down Nairobi, sending people home, that we have deployed the military …. things that have come from nowhere. These rumours must stop,” Kagwe said.

“The reason we must do so [stop purveyors of false information] is that when you tell people in social media to stay away from a hospital or an area because there are suspected cases there and it is false. One day it will be the truth and the people will think it is false.”