UAE governmentt dismisses coronavirus number rumors, sharing risks jail and fines

Spreading rumors in the UAE is a criminal offence. (File/AFP)
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Updated 31 March 2020

UAE governmentt dismisses coronavirus number rumors, sharing risks jail and fines

  • People found to have shared misinformation face jail and fines
  • Official figures are available on the government website and local media

DUBAI:  The UAE government has again warned against the spreading of misinformation, after a series of rumors circulated questioning the official number of recorded cases of coronavirus infection in the country, state news agency WAM reported.

“These reports contradict with the announcements made by the official authorities,” a health department statement said.

The statement explained that people should gather their information from official sources and “disregard rumors,” adding that those found sharing and promoting false information would face fines and possible jail terms.

The WOrld Health Organisation has previously voiced its own concerns about the amount of misinformation being circulated about the coronavirus, warning that it can also cause a lot of harm.

According to the UAE’s Department of Health website there are 611 confirmed cases, of which 61 people recovered and five people have died.

Syria Kurdish-led force launches new anti-Daesh campaign

Updated 48 min 20 sec ago

Syria Kurdish-led force launches new anti-Daesh campaign

  • Operations will focus on the vast east Syria desert near the border with Iraq

BEIRUT: US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria announced Friday a fresh campaign to hunt down remnants of the Daesh group near the Iraqi border following a recent uptick in attacks.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led paramilitary alliance that has spearheaded the ground fight against Daesh in Syria since 2015, said that the new campaign is being carried out in coordination with the Iraqi army and the US-led coalition.
“This campaign will target ISIS’s hideouts and hotbeds,” it said, using a different acronym for the militant group.
It said operations will focus on the vast east Syria desert near the border with Iraq where Daesh has conducted a spate of attacks in recent months.
Since the loss of its last territory in Syria in March 2019, Daesh attacks have been restricted to the vast desert that stretches from the heavily populated Orontes valley in the west all the way to Iraqi border.
It regularly targets SDF forces and has vowed to seek revenge for the defeat of its so-called “caliphate”.
The SDF, with backing from its coalition allies, launched a campaign to hunt down sleeper cells after it forced Daesh militants out of their last Syrian redoubt in the desert hamlet of Baghouz in March 2019.
A raid in October by US special forces killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant group which once controlled large swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria.
Last month, the United Nations accused the Daesh group and others in Syria of exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to step up violence on civilians, describing the situation as a “ticking time-bomb”.
Across the border in Iraq, Daesh has exploited a coronavirus lockdown, coalition troop withdrawals and simmering political disputes to ramp up attacks.
Iraq declared Daesh defeated in late 2017 but sleeper cells have survived in remote northern and western areas, where security gaps mean the group wages occasional attacks.
They have spiked since early April as militants plant explosives, shoot up police patrols and launch mortar and rocket fire at villages.