Fake coronavirus alerts circulating among several Ontario colleges and universities

Jan 28 2020, 6:42 am

Multiple post-secondary institutions across Ontario have responded to images of alerts about novel coronavirus cases on their campuses — all of which have been fake.

Images of alleged screenshots from Ryerson University’s official website, alongside photos of a sign allegedly posted on a door in a McMaster University residence building, were circulating online on Monday.

Both schools have since reported that the postings are false, and there is no cause for concern to anyone on campus.

Further, a picture of an ambulance and hazmat suits on Durham College campus sparked concern.

However, the college said that extra precaution was taken by first responders due to “heightened awareness,” and it has been confirmed that what they were responding to was not coronavirus.

While it’s confirmed that students at all three institutions have nothing to be concerned about at this time in relation to the coronavirus, the images that circulated did look realistic:

But, as one person explained in response to a post shared by Ryerson University, Internet content can be doctored. And in some cases, it’s not terribly difficult to do so.

As of January 27, Ontario has seen one confirmed case and one presumptive case of the coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China.

The cases are a husband and wife, respectively, who recently returned from travels that included the virus’ city of origin. They are both in their mid-50s and are recovering.

The province said that there are currently 19 cases under investigation, and that they have ruled out 16 patients at this time.