April Fool's Day is celebrated on the first of the month, but this year it’s different. In order to tackle rumours on coronavirus, India, Thailand and Germany have warned against spreading COVID-19 related misinformation on April Fool's Day.
On April Fool's Day usually people play tricks with other people and prank others for fun. But now countries have threatened jail time for those to spread rumours which could put lives at risk.
On Tuesday, in India, Maharashtra state's cyber security unit said it would take legal action against anyone spreading fake news on April Fools' Day.
Taking to Twitter, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh wrote, "Tomorrow's April 1st. The annual tradition making an 'April Fool' of people has already begun on WhatsApp & social media. The state govt won't allow anyone to spread rumours/panic on Corona. I've instructed Maharashtra cyber security unit to act swiftly & strongly such miscreants."
Meanwhile, Thailand government took to Twitter and said that April Fool's Day jokes about the virus could be punished under a law carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison. The Thai government tweeted saying, "It's against the law to fake having COVID-19 this April Fools' Day."
According to Reuters, Germany’s health ministry also warned against such activity under the heading “Corona is no joke.” Even a British PR agency, Taylor Herring, whose clients include TV channels and international brands has advised all companies to ditch the jokes this year, reported thejakartapost.com.
There are 754,948 people worldwide who have been infected with the coronavirus, announced the World Health Organization adding that 36,571 have died from it so far. The virus has spread to more than 200 countries and territories since it emerged in China in late December, according to the latest figures published on the WHO website.