Morocco confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus in the country on Monday, but is urging citizens to refrain from spreading rumors and fake news to avoid panic.
Rabat – Moroccan police have arrested two more suspects for spreading fake news about the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) said on Monday that the two suspects had filmed a video and published a video claiming they had contracted the coronavirus in a European country.
The statement describes the act as an attempt to share fake news to provoke reactions from Moroccan citizens.
The DGSN statement came just a few hours before the Ministry of Health confirmed the first coronavirus case in Morocco.
The health ministry announced that a Moroccan man residing in Italy has caught the virus, but he is not in a critical condition.
Amid mounting fears of an outbreak, Morocco’s government, meanwhile, continues to condemn attempts to spread fear among citizens with false reports.
The Moroccan police have arrested several suspects for filming videos and spreading rumors about the outbreak of the epidemic prior to the ministry’s official notice.
The first arrest was in Fez in February when a woman shared a video on social media, claiming that authorities had detected a coronavirus case at a Chinese restaurant.
The Moroccan government was expecting the outbreak of the disease, but warned that spreading rumors and exaggerations will cause nothing but fear and panic among citizens.
Morocco is among several African countries to confirm an outbreak, including South Africa, Senegal, Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia.
China, where the disease first appeared in December 2019, remains the highest risk in terms of both death toll and number of cases, with 80,000. Globally, around 90,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, UAE, and Jordan are also dealing with the outbreak of the virus.