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PM warns against false information on COVID-19

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun speaks during a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held at Seoul City Hall last Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun speaks during a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters held at Seoul City Hall last Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Monday warned against producing and spreading false information about COVID-19, saying the government will deal with such acts with zero-tolerance.

“With the COVID-19 crisis continuing, false and fabricated information such as ‘Level 3 social distancing confirmed’ and ‘hoarding of daily necessities begins’ are spreading again,” the prime minister said during a meeting of the central disaster headquarters.

“Actions of spreading such false and fabricated information instigate mistrust and confusion, and are tantamount to social vice that hamper disease prevention work.”

Chung instructed the Korea Communications Commission and the National Police Agency to track down such illegal acts and severely punish them.

About the Level 2.5 social distancing guidelines in the Seoul metropolitan area as it enters its third week, Chung said although the number of confirmed people hasn’t immediately gone down, there were some positive signs such as a decline of mobile phone use, vehicle traffic and the percentage of confirmed cases of people aged 60 or above due to aggressive testing.

“Adjusting the social distancing level must be meticulously prepared, and has to be our last resort,” the prime minister said.

“We need exceptional disease prevention measures on nursing hospitals, sanatoriums, mental hospitals and ski resorts, which have been confirmed as prone to infections.”

Chung asked the central disaster headquarters to tighten disease control measures for the year-end and New Year’s holidays, and promptly implement them.

“As the government cannot overlook the pain caused by strengthened disease prevention measures, financial authorities should review reasonable support plans,” he said.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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