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No fine for wearing cloth mask in UAE but people still sharing fake news video

 

DUBAI – A week after authorities told an Emirati vlogger to take down a fake news video where he claimed that people wearing cloth masks will be fined Dh500, it appears that some people still believed the misinformation.

In one social media group, a UAE resident had asked whether it was true that people wearing cloth masks will be fined, and another netizen had posted a downloaded video of the fake news video as an answer.

There is no fine for wearing a cloth mask in the UAE. Police have also debunked rumours of the issue. A representative of Abu Dhabi Police told Expatmedia.net that there is no violation for wearing a cloth mask in public.

“Cloth masks are considered a mask. No one should get fined if they wear one,” Abu Dhabi Police told Expatmedia.net.

Fake news video by UAE vlogger removed

Late last month, vlogger Prince Jack Abood (PJA) had removed his fake news video and posted an apology on social media following advice by UAE authorities.

He acknowledged posting the “fake news” and claimed it stemmed from people who sent him a message that they were fined Dh500 for wearing a cloth mask.

However, the vlogger was not able to provide proof of the messages allegedly sent to him or clarify whether he verified the authenticity of the alleged claims before posting his video.

“Please accept our forgiveness… I already deleted it,” he said, referring to the fake news video.

Under the UAE law, spreading rumours and false information is a crime punishable with a fine of up to Dh3 million and jail term.

Fake Dh500 fine claim over cloth mask debunked

An Expatmedia.net investigation also revealed that a viral photo of a fine ticket from a UAE resident who thought he was fined Dh500 for wearing a cloth mask was actually a fine for a different violation.

It turns out that the expatriate was issued a fine for failing to wear a mask in the office and not for wearing a cloth mask.

Expatmedia.net had reached out to Dinnis Magat, an Abu Dhabi-based Filipino expatriate behind the viral social media comment and photo that people had taken a screenshot of and shared on social media.

Magat had claimed that police fined him Dh500 for wearing a cloth mask that the officer allegedly said “is prone to Covid-19”.

Speaking to Expatmedia.net after his comment and photo went viral, Magat claimed he was fined outside a grocery store near his home in Abu Dhabi.

He also sent Expatmedia.net a copy of the fine ticket and a text message from Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport about the fine issued to him on June 17.

It turns out the fine of Dh500 was meted out for “employee or worker not wearing mask in the workplace or in the joint housing of the workers groups”. The fine was issued in Abu Dhabi’s Hai Al Qasr area at 9:24am on June 17.

When asked if he would contest the fine issued to him, Magat said his employer is taking care of the matter.

Facemask mandatory, cloth masks allowed in UAE

The UAE has made it mandatory for anyone going out in public to wear a facemask and maintain social distancing. Reusable masks or cloth masks are allowed in all emirates.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, spokesperson of the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, also advocated the wearing of reusable facemasks or cloth masks.

“We recommend everyone wears a mask when you go out. The alternative option in the absence of a medical mask is to cover the nose and mouth using paper masks, or home-made masks made of cotton or mixed cotton, making sure to re-wash them,” Al Hosani told a media briefing in April. “When I wear a mask I am protecting you and when you wear a mask you are protecting me,” Al Hosani said.

Under UAE rules, those who fail to wear a facemask in public will be fined Dh3,000, according to the Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee.

In offices, employees who don’t wear masks will be fined Dh500 while companies or offices where employees don’t wear masks at work will be fined Dh5,000. ICA/Expat Media


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