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Gov’t warns against April Fool’s coronavirus jokes

Thailand’s government issued a warning Tuesday that April Fool’s Day jokes about the novel coronavirus are punishable by a law which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The government’s Public Relations Department posted an infographic on its Twitter account on Tuesday saying “it’s against the law to fake having Covid-19 this April Fools’ Day.”

“People around the world are suffering from #Covid19 outbreak, and that’s reason enough why people should be more considerate and not use this as a prank or a joke,” the post’s accompanying text said.

Thailand’s government had declared a state of emergency that became effective Thursday and will remain in place until at least April 30 as the country tries to halt the spread of the virus.

One of the measures under the emergency decree states “scaremongers are warned not to spread false news or rumours concerning the Covid-19 pandemic through any media channels,” the Public Relations Department said in another Twitter post on Tuesday.

It said violators would be prosecuted under computer crime laws which punishes those who input information deemed false into computer systems. It carries penalties of up to five years in prison or an up-to-100,000-baht (3,055-dollar) fine.

Thailand reported 127 new coronavirus cases and one new death on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,651, with 10 deaths.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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