Fake email reports case of coronavirus in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi: A screenshot of an email claiming that the first case of the Wuhan novel coronavirus has been diagnosed in Abu Dhabi is currently spreading rapidly on WhatsApp.
The email alleges a patient hospitalised at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has tested positive for the virus, known popularly as the Wuhan nCOV, that has triggered fears of a global epidemic.
A source at the Abu Dhabi Government-owned hospital has, however, confirmed to Gulf News that the email is fake.
The circulated screenshot shows an internal email from a Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi staff member, informing others at the hospital of a patient who has tested positive for the virus. He then urges the use of personal protective equipment when handling the infected patient.
Two lines of Arabic text are superimposed on the screenshot, saying that Abu Dhabi has seen its first case of the novel coronavirus, and urging everyone to stay safe and keep praying.
The purported sender of the email, as seen in the screenshot, is indeed an employee at the hospital. He, however, said that the email is a fake.
“I never sent that email out but I have got calls about it today,” he said.
What stands out to a keen observer is the way in which the word ‘coronavirus’ is spelt in the email. The word is incorrectly split into two: ‘corona virus’. However, this would be unlikely to come from medical professionals at a leading hospital.
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention issued a statement on January 22 confirming that the UAE is free of the Wuhan nCoV, a newly identified coronavirus that first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
The virus has spread rapidly since then, killing 56 people, including two people in the United States, three in France and four in Australia. It has also infected more than 2,000 people in mainland people, and there are more than 13 confirmed cases elsewhere across the globe.
The UAE also takes a strict stance on the spreading of rumours via social media channels, with authorities repeatedly warning residents not to circulate unverified information and not to fall prey to misinformation.