MANILA, Philippines – Cops in Legazpi City have filed a criminal case on Tuesday, February 4, against a man who reportedly pretended to contract the 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV and “laid down” in front of a mall as part of a prank.
In a phone interview with Rappler, Legazpi City acting police chief Lieutenant Colonel Aldwin Gamboa confirmed that they had filed a case on Tuesday afternoon accusing the man of violating Article 155 of the Revised Penal Code, which bans inappropriately causing alarm and scandal.
Gamboa said the man apparently laid down and acted sick in front of Yashano Mall in the city’s port district on Sunday afternoon, but ended up causing unnecessary panic.
There’s no arrest yet: Gamboa clarified that the man who pulled the apparent prank has not been arrested as they have not secured an arrest warrant.
If the case prospers, the man could be imprisoned from 1 to 30 days, or could be fined at most P200.
Why the panic? The first death outside China related to the virus happened in the Philippines, after a 44-year-old man who traveled to the Philippines from Wuhan, China died after developing severe pneumonia. (READ: Coronavirus: What we know about first death outside China) A second death has been reported in Hong Kong.
In China, the government has counted 425 deaths related to the virus as of Tuesday afternoon.
The World Health Organization declared the current 2019-nCoV situation in China a public health emergency of international concern on January 30. – Rappler.com
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