By Gavin Gibbon
Dubai Police investigating the hoax as CEO of JA Resorts & Hotels describes it as 'a guest prank gone horribly wrong'
A letter claiming the JA Lake View Hotel was in lockdown as a result of the coronavirus has been described as “a guest prank gone horribly wrong”.
Dubai Police are investigating the letter, which appeared to be printed on official headed paper from the hotel, claiming that the property had been placed in quarantine and that “all guests with a fever, cough, or difficulties breathing, wear red clothing”.
In a statement to Arabian Business, Anthony Ross, CEO of JA Resorts & Hotels, confirmed that the letter was “completely false”.
He said: “There are no current health issues at JA Lake View Hotel or any of the JA Resorts & Hotels properties.
“We now have strong reason to believe this was a guest prank gone horribly wrong. The consequences are very significant and as Dubai Police are already involved, we are passing all information over to them to handle.”
Spreading unverified rumours about the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in the country is illegal under the UAE’s federal cybercrime laws.
Ross added: “Fake news, unfortunately can be potentially very damaging to a brand, but luckily we now have this situation under control. Our guests and partners have been very supportive and loyal to our brand.”
On Saturday, false claims were made over social media from an account purporting to be from Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) informing that all schools were closed as a result of the outbreak.
A follow-up tweet from the KHDA said: “Fake news! All official announcements will be made on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook channels. We advice everyone to avoid sharing messages and screenshots without first verifying them.”
We’re referring to Sports Days, International Days, etc. Internal school events.— KHDA (@KHDA) February 29, 2020