SPAIN’S Minister of Defence has mounted a blistering attack on the Euro Weekly News (EWN) over its false reporting of a potential lockdown starting on September 18.
Margarita Robles said today that ‘at this time there is no talk of a new lockdown.’
The minister went on to blast the phoney article, which was re-published by several other newspapers, as being ‘science fiction.’
“At this time there is no plan for a second lockdown at all,” she said, “What ‘may’ happen no one knows, and neither does the media, much less a foreign paper.”
It comes after the article sent shockwaves through the expat and Spanish community after claiming the country was preparing for a three-stage lockdown from mid-September.
It said it had consulted two members of the Spanish congress.
The Olive Press immediately contacted the British Embassy and the Spanish government, who both confirmed the story as untrue.
By then the false information had spread across the country and Europe, with people in the UK cancelling their trips to Spain and expats in Portugal regurgitating the information as fact to an Olive Press journalist.
Meanwhile a Spanish YouTuber devoted an episode to the EWN article, but doubted its sources were legitimate. That video alone has well over 100,000 views.
The Olive Press insisted the Government address the matter publicly, leading to director of health emergencies Fernando Simon to label the article a ‘hoax’ in his daily press briefing.
Robles added today: “The health authorities of the autonomous communities and the central government are taking the necessary measures to avoid the possibility of a new lockdown.”
The minister made the comments during a visit to the General Arroquia Barracks in Salamanca.
The government has yet to reveal whether the EWN will face legal consequences for spreading false information related to COVID-19.
It comes after police confirmed in March that anyone who spreads false information regarding the virus could face a fine or even imprisonment.
The Government has yet to comment to the Olive Press on whether an investigation into the article will be launched.