Authorities dismiss conspiracy theories and fake news about thermal imaging, facemasks

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Amid conspiracy theories against thermal imaging and criticism against wearing facemasks during the current state of alert in Romania, local authorities came out to make clear these tools are mandatory to keep the epidemic under control and prevent the spread of the virus.

The first fines against citizens who broke the rules have been applied. According to the Strategic Communication Group, almost 130 sanctions amounting to RON 71,000 have been applied in the past 24 hours.

Nine criminal offenses for foiling disease control have been also identified.

The law 55/2020 stipulating sanctions for breaking the measures taken by authorities during the state of alert has come into force on Monday. One of the provisions is the mandatory wearing of protection facemasks in enclosed spaces and in the public transportation.

Interior minister Marcel Vela has underlined on Tuesday night that those who will not wear facemasks in enclosed spaces will be sanctioned.

A decree issued today by the Interior and Health ministers says that wearing a facemask is mandatory in any enclosed space, business premises, transportation means, except for the children under 5, TV hosts and their guests,  people who suffer from diseases that affect the oxygenation capacity, students during classes if the social distancing is observed.

In his turn, the chief of the Emergency Situations Department, Raed Arafat made it clear why we must wear facemasks, for they protect us from the people who have been infected with COVID-19, but who have no symptoms and do not know they have the virus. Arafat said that refusing to wear a facemask is the same with denying to put your seat belt when traveling by car.

He presented a chart showing that if an infected person is not wearing a mask, the risk to infect another person who wears the mask is 70%, while the probability is down to 1.5% if both wear masks.

At the same time, Arafat slammed fears and conspiracy theories over thermal scans when people enter the supermarket or a company’s HQs, stressing that companies and stores which don’t take the customers temperature risk being sanctioned.

The emergency situations chief explained there is no legal problem with thermal scans and that it will not take personal data or social security numbers out of their foreheads.

„Thermal imaging is made from a distance, it won’t take your ID or social security numbers from your forehead, it is not harmful, it only measures your temperature. If the temperature is high, you are recommended to go see a doctor. I don’t see any legal problem here,” Arafat said.

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