Fake ‘quarantine’ texts sent by foreign powers, feds and NJ cops warn
The White House and local law enforcement is warning that a fake text message about a national "two week quarantine" implemented by U.S. Homeland Security and the National Guard during the COVID-19 pandemic is being put out by foreign governments.
In a tweet Friday night, the White House said "there is disinformation regarding the Coronavirus coming from China, Russia, Iran, and others. Disinformation includes texts with fake rumors about a national lockdown. Follow guidance from state and local authorities for real updates."
Several New Jersey law enforcement agencies put warnings out about the text. A law enforcement source told New Jersey 101.5 that the matter was raised during a daily COVID-19 briefing with the Attorney General's Office on Friday.
Sayreville police in their post said that "there is the possibility, and probability, of additional restrictions as we react and respond to COVID-19" but advised against "information overload."
The message, which the sender claims comes from a "FEMA contact," states that President Donald Trump will "evoke" the Stafford Act to implement a two-week quarantine. Variations include that the message came from a military source.
The Stafford Act was invoked by Trump earlier in the week which he used to declare a national state of emergency. A fact check by USA Today revealed that the act does not specifically grant powers to impose a quarantine.
USA Today's report said guidelines from the Congressional Research Service stated that “state and local governments have the primary authority to control the spread of dangerous diseases within their jurisdictions,” while “the federal government has authority to quarantine and impose other health measures to prevent the spread of diseases from foreign countries and between states.”
New Jersey 101.5 reports on information and orders that come directly from state and local authorities, including the Office of the Governor, the Attorney General's Office, the state Department of Health and the State Police.
Official information about the outbreak is posted on the New Jersey government's official website at NJ.gov and NJ.gov/health.
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