Singapore — A correction order has been issued under the Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (Pofma) to SPH Magazines because of a post in HardwareZone Forum claiming that a man had died in Singapore from the Wuhan virus.
According to a media release on Monday (Jan 27), the Minister for Health instructed the Pofma Office to issue the Correction Notice.
The release from the Pofma Office said: “The Minister for Health has instructed the Pofma Office to issue a General Correction Direction to SPH Magazines Pte Ltd, which operates the HardwareZone forum.
“A false statement was made in a HardwareZone forum post, claiming that a man has died from the Wuhan coronavirus infection in Singapore. HardwareZone is required to carry the Correction Notice to all end-users in Singapore who use HardwareZone.com.”
A separate release on gov.sg entitled “Corrections and clarifications regarding falsehoods posted on HardwareZone Forum Post,” also issued on Monday (Jan 27), said that late on Sunday afternoon (Jan 26) a post was published on HardwareZone Forum saying that a 66-year-old man had died in the country “from a newly identified virus that caused him to develop severe pneumonia”.
It clarified that as of 11 pm on Sunday (Jan 26), there had been no deaths from the confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus infection.
The release also urged the public to not spread fake news and unfounded rumours concerning the virus, but to visit the website of the Ministry of Health (MOH) for updates and clarifications.
At 3.30 am on Monday (Jan 27) HardwareZone Forum complied with the Pofma Correction Direction. An administrator posted the following: “In response to a false statement on a death in Singapore from the Wuhan coronavirus infection, HardwareZone.com has received a direction under Singapore law to carry a Correction Notice. For the correct facts, click here.”
There are four confirmed cases of the Wuhan virus in Singapore so far, with the first case confirmed on Thursday (Jan 23) and the next two on the following day (Jan 24).
There are at present 92 suspected cases of the virus in the country, of which 46 have tested negative. Results from the other 42 cases are pending, according to the MOH.
In its update on Sunday (Jan 26), the MOH said “the fourth confirmed case involves a 36- year-old male Chinese national from Wuhan who is currently being treated in an isolation ward at Sengkang General Hospital.
“Prior to hospital admission on Jan 24, the patient stayed at Village Hotel Sentosa and indicated that he had visited Universal Studios Singapore and Vivocity. He had travelled on public transport, including taxi. The risk of infection from transient contact, such as on public transport or public spaces, is assessed to be low.
“Nine individuals have been identified as close contacts of the case. As of Jan 26, 12pm, eight have been contacted, and are being quarantined. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining close contact.” -/TISG