Operations at the Siparia District Health Facility are continuing as usual, despite a fake public post in social media that there was a possible COVID-19 case at the institution.
In a public post, Mon Desir Councillor Deryck Bowrin wrote:
“Just got word there is a lockdown of Siparia Health Centre possible COVID-19 case.”
However, this was debunked by the Manager of Corporate Communications at the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), Kevon Gervais, who said this was fake news.
He said there was no lockdown of the hospital.
Contacted for comment, Bowrin explained that the miscommunication occurred when he got a call from a public health inspector that the gates of the facility were locked and there was a possible case of COVID-19.
“They did not confirm anything. All I was told was the gates were closed and nobody was being allowed there,” he said.
He explained that he did not mean to cause any panic by his post.
“The post seemed to cause some panic, which was not my intention. The facility called and said things were under control. They had a high powered meeting and have developed protocols to deal with this. I am sorry if I caused any uncertainty. There is a hotline 87-SWRHA, if people have any questions,” Bowrin added.
Last week, the T&T Police Service issued a warning to citizens that if they share fake news, they can be fined or imprisoned.
What the law says:
The Summary Offences Act Chapter 11:02 states:
Any person who—
(a) sends any message by telephone which is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene, or menacing character; or
(b) sends any message by telephone, or any telegram, which he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to any other person; or
(c) persistently makes telephone calls without reasonable cause and for any such purpose as mentioned above, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred dollars or to imprisonment for one month.