Spanish police have arrested a man who claims the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax for inciting hatred and violence across several anonymous social media profiles.
The 38-year-old claimed health professionals and the media were behind what he called the “Covid farce” and urged his followers to attack politicians and journalists, police said.
“All this would be solved with a shot to the back of [Spanish prime minister] Pedro Sánchez’s head,” he wrote on one of his accounts.
In other posts he said the headquarters of Spain’s doctors’ union should be burned down, and he described those who believed in the virus as bad and ignorant people who deserved to die, according to the police.
Police said the suspect allegedly made calls to nursing homes, hospitals and football clubs, passing himself off as a government official, to spread false information about the pandemic.
Police traced the man to a location just outside Zaragoza, the regional capital of Aragon.
Itinerant fruit-pickers have been linked to several outbreaks in the region, which has been at the centre of Spain’s recent resurgence in infections. It has had the highest prevalence of the virus over the past two weeks, with 404 cases per 100,000 people.
On Thursday Spain reported, 3,781 new cases, bringing the cumulative total to 429,507 – the highest in western Europe.
During the epidemic’s peak, Spain imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, and it introduced stringent mask-wearing rules when the lockdown was lifted at the end of June.
While compliance with national restrictions remains the norm, a small but vocal anti-mask movement has been gaining prominence in the past few months, spurred on by the endorsement of a 1980s pop star, Miguel Bosé.
Source: The Guardian