23:41 GMT03 April 2020
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    The COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected more than 300,000 people across the world, and the shortage of medical equipment have triggered a torrent of fake news and misinformation about how avoid contracting the disease as well as ways to cure it. At the moment, there is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

    The US Department of Justice announced on 22 March that it had shut down a website that sold what it claimed were vaccines against the coronavirus. The site Coronavirusmedicalkit.com offered purported vaccine kits that were allegedly distributed by the World Health Organisation. "Due to the recent outbreak for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the World Health Organization is giving away vaccine kits. Just pay $ 4.95 for shipping", read the statement on the homepage.

    The Justice Department did not specify how many people fell victim to the fraud. The ongoing investigation will try to establish the identity of the perpetrator and the amount of money generated by the sales.

    The closure of the website is part of the government campaign to combat the spread of misinformation on the coronavirus, which has become widespread since the beginning of the outbreak of the disease. There are more than 30,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in the United States, while more than 400 have died from the respiratory illness.

    Attorney General William Barr has urged federal agencies to make the fight against misinformation their priority and called on citizens to report all websites and individuals spreading fake news to the National Centre for Disaster Fraud.

    Tags:
    COVID-19, coronavirus, United States, William Barr
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