Inaccurate messages and warnings are being sent on various social media platforms causing panic among citizens during the current COVID-19 pandemic and Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is advising the public to ignore them.
There has been three recent instances where these so-called anonymous social media security sources posted inaccurate information via WhatsApp and videos.
In the first instance, last weekend there was a video posted which showed illegal immigrants running onto the shore, saying it could have been Los Iros, Moruga, Cedros and Icacos.
It turned out to be nationals of the Dominican Republic entering Puerto Rico.
In the second instance, social media was abuzz with information that the Prime Minister was going to implement a State of Emergency/curfew long before he hosted his media conference on May 3. This turned out to be also false.
In the third incident yesterday, a voice message of a man, who claimed to be an insider within the Ministry of National Security, posted audio within the past 24 hours saying he came out of a video conference meeting at the Ministry of National Security with the Telecommunications Department and that the COVID situation was very bad. He even advised people to panic buy.
However, in a release issued by the TTPS, Griffith said there was no such meeting and added that these three incidents could have the effect of “creating fear among the population and causing panic buying across the country.”
He also added that this can cause police officers to respond to unnecessary matters when they could have been performing their normal activities.
Griffith has advised the public to “ignore these false social media posts. He is also asking the public not to forward these messages as this could cause further panic among the population.”
He is also advising the public to only accept information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic from official sources, such as the Ministry of Health and bulletins from the TTPS.
Yesterday, police officers were called out to two popular supermarkets in central Trinidad claiming that there were large crowds, however, when the officers got there people were seen adhering to the public regulations.
Supermarket officials were also seen controlling the amount of people allowed in the establishments at any given time and ensuring that customers wore their masks properly, washed their hands, sanitised and did their temperature checks before proceeding to shop for their respective grocery items.