DHS Chief: National Lockdown Reports are ‘False’ and Possibly Stemmed from Russia

March 23, 2020 Updated: March 23, 2020
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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said on March 22 that disinformation suggesting there could be a national shutdown could have stemmed from Russia or other cyber actors.

Wolf said on Sunday that the reports were false and that circulating text messages that say “we’re going to have a national lockdown or a national quarantine” are part of a “disinformation campaign.”

“I would just say, that’s absolutely false. It’s not true,” he told Fox Business. “And it is part of a disinformation campaign.”

“What we know, whether it’s Russia, or whether it’s other cyber actors… [is] they like to sow discord on any controversial issue,” he added. “So, it doesn’t just have to be elections. It can be any issue. And we’re seeing that now with the coronavirus.”

“Get your information from trusted sources, such as your state officials and your federal officials,” Wolf said.

Wolf’s message came after the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) on March 20 said that text messages and emails about national quarantines are “absolutely false” adding that the disinformation was “started by those wanting to cause fear and confusion in our country.”

“Continue to listen to CDC, coronavirus.gov and your state/local officials for latest updates and definitive guidance,” NSC wrote on Twitter.

Wolf urged Americans not to believe the false reports, or share the messages. He also said Sunday that there are no immediate plans to halt travel within the United States amid the CCP virus outbreak, adding that the administration could implement targeted restrictions if needed.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

President Donald Trump last week suggested that the Chinese communist regime is to blame for the CCP virus, which has spread to more than 160 countries and territories around the world, killing thousands.

On Sunday, the president approved a major disaster declaration for Washington state and New York, while California is expected to be approved shortly to combat the viral pandemic.

The governors of the three states made requests to the federal government for the order as CCP virus cases multiply across the United States. New York, Washington, and California have the most confirmed patients.

“We’re enduring a great national trial,” Trump remarked, adding that “we’re at war” with an “invisible enemy.”

“I want you to know as one people, eternally linked by our shared national spirit,” Trump said. “No American is alone.”

A disaster declaration provides a wide range of federal assistance programs and funds for public infrastructure and individual assistance.

One in three Americans was also ordered to stay home on Sunday to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed at least 400 people in the United States and sickened more than 33,000.

Jack Phillips and Reuters contributed to this report.