Health officers screen arriving passengers from China with thermal scanners at Changi International airport in Singapore on January 22, 2020 as authorities increased measure against coronavirus. (AFP / Roslan Rahman)

Singapore denies it closed a subway station after novel coronavirus discovery

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A Facebook post claims Singapore closed a subway station in January 2020 after discovering a case of novel coronavirus. The claim is false; Singapore’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport denied that any part of its mass rapid transit (MRT) network had been shut down for disinfection.

The Facebook post was published here on January 27, 2020. Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

The post states: “Hi All of my FB friends those who live near Woodlands Mrt, pls do not go there, as there a suspect case of WuHan virus. Woodlands Mrt now is close for disinfection. Just a small update since you all staying at woodlands. And this was a news which we just got from Navin's work place 5 mins ago.

"Please avoid Causeway point for now as a suspected case of corona virus was brought to raffles medical which is located at Causeway point itself .

"Please help to share and spread the news for the safety of everyone.”

This Facebook post shared a similar claim.

As of January 30, 2020, Singapore has reported 13 cases of the coronavirus, which has killed at least 213 people in China since the strain broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan over a month ago.

Chinese authorities also confirmed that the number of infections has jumped to nearly 10,000, AFP reported here.

However, the claim about Singapore's MRT is false. The government refuted the assertion in a statement here, saying it is "not true" and that the MRT station in question is "fully operational." 

"We advise members of the public to not speculate and/or spread unfounded rumours," the statement added. 

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) also shared the statement on Facebook. 

“MOT is aware of rumours circulating online that Woodlands MRT was closed for disinfection due to a suspected case of the Wuhan coronavirus infection. We would like to clarify that this is not true," the agency's post read in part.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also posted the statement on its website here. Below is a screenshot of the official MOH page:

Screenshot of MOH's website

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act office announced here that it had identified two Facebook users who spread the misinformation and that the agency has instructed Facebook to issue Correction Notices for the posts.