Anger at ‘fake news’ prankster’s voicenote – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Anger at ‘fake news’ prankster’s voicenote

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The Premier warned against “panic activity” yesterday after false claims that supermarkets could be closed as part of the battle against Covid-19.

David Burt recorded a message to plead with the public not to listen to rumours.

He told the public: “I know that there are a lot of voice notes that are currently circulating, which are saying that the Government is going to close grocery stores, is going to close pharmacies, the island's going to be on lockdown and if you don't run to the store today, you're not going to have anything.

“This is not true. Let me repeat, this is not true! Please do not engage in panic activity, it is not helpful at all.

“Please make sure that you follow official notifications from the Government of Bermuda.”

Mr Burt said people should visit the Government's coronavirus webpage for the latest information on the coronavirus crisis.

He added: “Please do not listen to voice notes that are not substantiated.

“This is not the way that Bermuda is going to get through this pandemic.

“We're going to get through this with unity, following correct and proper information and that correct and proper information will come from the Government.”

Mr Burt said: “Everyone please be safe, remain calm, wash your hands, keep your social-distancing, make sure that you're following all the things which we've laid out and Bermuda will be just fine.”

Queues were seen outside grocery stores yesterday including The Supermart on Front Street, A1-Smith's at Collector's Hill and MarketPlace in Hamilton's Church Street.

The Government earlier “condemned and refuted” closure claims.

A spokeswoman said: “The deliberate creation and spreading of false information is unacceptable and is creating a tremendous strain on resources already stretched in managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Where possible, such behaviour will be reported to the police with a view to properly investigating and, if permissible prosecuting, any offences committed.”

She added: “The Government is committed to preventing the community spread of Covid-19 and with providing the public with accurate factual information.

“Despite this, there are those in our community who spread rumours and misinformation without any compassion for their fellow Bermudians and for the panic that these rumours could create.”

The spokeswoman said that accurate information could be found on the Government's coronavirus.gov.bm website.

She added that official government social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube also provided updates.

A Government WhatsApp account can be accessed at https://wa.me/14415046045 or at 504-6045.

People should text “Hi” to start a chat and receive messages.

The Government warned the public: “At this time, all of us must do our part to stay calm and maintain social cohesion.

“Do not create or forward misinformation and only use reliable sources of information to keep abreast of the latest developments around Covid-19.”

Lined up: residents practice 'social distancing' as they queue at the Marketplace's A1 at the junction of Collector's Hill Road and South Shore Road, in Smith's yesterday. A prankster released a voicenote claiming that government had issued an order to close supermarkets and groceries. Within hours, David Burt, the Premier, had issued his own voicenote, to correct the disinformation (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)
David Burt, the Premier (File photograph).

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Published March 28, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated March 28, 2020 at 9:00 am)

Anger at ‘fake news’ prankster’s voicenote

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