Thailand warns pranksters risk five years in jail if they make April Fools’ Day jokes about coronavirus

  • Thailand has warned its citizens against coronavirus April Fools’ Day jokes  
  • It comes as countries seek to prevent the spread of rumours about the virus
  • There are fears that jokes could spread misinformation and cause more deaths
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Thailand has warned its citizens that April Fool’s Day jokes related to coronavirus could be punished by up to five years in prison. 

It comes as countries across the globe have told people not to make jokes about COVID-19 on April 1, as they seek to prevent the spread of rumours which could put lives at risk.   

‘It’s against the law to fake having COVID-19 this April Fools’ Day,’ the Thai government said on Twitter.

Thai Buddhist monks wear face shields to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, during morning alms in Bangkok on Tuesday. Thailand has warned its citizens that April Fool’s Day jokes related to coronavirus could be punished under a law carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison

Thai Buddhist monks wear face shields to protect themselves from coronavirus as they walk to collect alms from devotees in Bangkok. ‘It’s against the law to fake having COVID-19 this April Fools’ Day,’ the Thai government said on Twitter

Free meals are delivered at the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 31

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen took to Facebook to tell people not to prank about the virus, adding that anyone spreading rumours or false information could face up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to NT$3 million (£80,000).

In India, Maharashtra state’s cyber security unit said it would take legal action against anyone spreading fake news on April Fools’ Day.

‘The state govt won’t allow anyone to spread rumours/panic on #Corona,’ Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh tweeted, adding that he had instructed the authorities to ‘act swiftly & strongly (against) such miscreants’.

Under the heading ‘Corona is no joke’, Germany’s health ministry also urged the public not to make up stories related to the virus.

With people relying on the internet and media for vital information about coronavirus, there are fears that jokes could fan the spread of misinformation.

From drinking cow urine to sleeping by chopped onions, myths about how people can catch and cure COVID-19 are already widely circulating.

Visitors maintain a distance as they wait for free meals at the Wat Arun Buddhist temple in Bangkok

A municipal worker in Mumbai, India sprays disinfectant in an alley where a patient had tested positive for the virus. Maharashtra state’s cyber security unit said it would take legal action against anyone spreading fake news on April Fools’ Day

The World Health Organization has described it as an ‘infodemic’, which could increase the spread of the virus among vulnerable people.

Google said it had suspended its annual April Fools’ tradition ‘out of respect for all those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic’.

‘Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let’s save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one,’ it said in an internal email to staff. 

Source: Read Full Article