The normally bustling Rue de Rivoli in central Paris is deserted on March 17, 2020, after a lockdown came into effect across France in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP / Martin Bureau)

Busting coronavirus myths

Rumors, myths and misinformation about the novel coronavirus have spread as quickly as the virus itself. AFP Factcheck has been debunking disinformation as it emerges along with new cases across the world.

Here is a list of our 268 fact-checks in English so far, starting with the most recent:

(Updated 8 April 2020)

 

(AFP Graphics)

 

268. Gates Foundation urges netizens to stop sharing fake 'Bill Gates coronavirus letter'

An "open letter” purportedly written by US billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates about the novel coronavirus pandemic has been shared in English and Chinese on Facebook, Twitter and various websites. The Chinese-language posts state the letter was translated from its original publication in British newspaper The Sun. But the letter is fake; Gates’ philanthropic organisation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, clarified on Weibo that the letter presents “false information” and urged netizens to stop sharing it. The Sun has reportedly removed the letter from its website. 

8 April 2020

More here.

267. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through fruits and vegetables

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter claim that a Hong Kong medical lab has warned the novel coronavirus can remain viable on fruits and vegetables for 12 hours, therefore people should "avoid salads" over fears of contracting COVID-19. The claim is false; the Centre for Food Safety in Hong Kong said there is no evidence to suggest that the virus is transmitted through food produce; the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have also separately said there is "no evidence" that COVID-19 has been transmitted through food. 

8 April 2020

More here. 

266. Hoax circulates online that funerals for COVID-19 victims are banned in Pakistan

A purported notice issued by the Pakistan Red Crescent and Pakistan’s Health Department on COVID-19 isolation rules has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. The advisory claims that families of those killed while in isolation will not be able to hold funerals or burials for them. The claim is false; the Pakistan Red Crescent denied issuing such a statement, and Pakistan’s health authority does allow funerals for those killed by the novel coronavirus.

8 April 2020

More here.

265. Video of looting during the novel coronavirus lockdown in the UK? The footage shows riots in London in 2011, nine years before the COVID-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows people rioting and looting shops in England during the coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the video has circulated online since August 2011 about riots in the British capital of London.

8 April 2020

More here.

264. Video of Italians praying outside together during the pandemic? This video actually shows worshippers in Peru in 2019

A video of dozens of people praying outdoors has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim it shows Italians praying during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the footage in fact shows a prayer event in Peru in December 2019, weeks before Italy reported its first case of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

8 April 2020

More here

263. Misinformation circulates online about COVID-19 cases and lockdown measures in Asia

Multiple Facebook posts shared thousands of times in April 2020 purport to compare novel coronavirus lockdown measures in countries including South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. The posts claim the virus is now "gone" in South Korea because residents stayed at home for three weeks and that the epidemic has been “controlled” in Japan. The posts also claim that by contrast, people in the Philippines have taken a careless aproach to the virus. The claims are misleading; official data shows South Korea continued to face new cases of COVID-19 in April 2020; officials in Japan said COVID-19 cases were rapidly increasing in the same month.

8 April 2020

More here.

262. The CEOs of these companies did not all step down during novel coronavirus crisis

A post shared thousands of times on Facebook lists companies whose chief executive officers have allegedly stepped down during the novel coronavirus crisis. This is misleading; some of the 19 CEOs remain in their positions, while the announcements that others were leaving came before the virus emerged in late 2019.

7 April 2020

More here.

261. No, these videos do not show recent looting in South Africa

A couple of videos shared this month on Facebook purportedly show recent lootings in shops in South Africa, while the country undergoes a 21-day lockdown to minimise the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, both videos show footage of earlier looting incidents and were already circulating online last year.

7 April 2020

More here.

260. South African hospital group rejects claim that lab found COVID-19 on fresh produce

Posts shared on Facebook and WhatsApp claim a South African hospital found that traces of the novel coronavirus had survived on the surface of fresh food items for 12 hours during lab tests. The claim is false and was dismissed by the hospital’s owners Netcare, which denies even having a laboratory at the facility in question.

7 April 2020

More here.

259. Video of corpses in body bags strewn across the floor of a New York hospital? The footage was shot in Ecuador, not New York

A video purportedly showing COVID-19 victims in body bags strewn across the floor of a New York hospital was shared several thousand times in multiple languages on social media. The claim is false; the key footage was shot in Ecuador, not Manhattan, and a US healthcare spokeswoman said the allegations amounted to “abhorrent misinformation.”

7 April 2020

More here.

258. This poem was written in 2020 specifically about the COVID-19 pandemic, it's not 19th century verse about self-isolation.

A poem about people self-isolating at home has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter in April 2020 alongside a claim that it was written in the 19th century and reprinted during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The posts, published as the world continued to endure the spread of the novel coronavirus, claim the poem is evidence that "history repeats itself".  The claim is false; the poem was first published online in March 2020 by a retired teacher in the US during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

7 April 2020

More here.

257. Photo of pastor being beaten for defying coronavirus laws in Nigeria? This is an AFP photo shot in 2006 during an unrelated incident.

An image has been shared multiple times on Facebook in Liberia in support of a claim that pastors were beaten for defying government restrictions on religious gatherings amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Although a police crackdown on churches took place, the use of the picture in this context is false as it was shot years ago at an unrelated event.

7 April 2020

More here.

256. Sanskrit teacher reciting verses on Spanish radio during the pandemic? No, the footage was recorded in London in November 2019.

A video of a woman reciting Sanskrit verses has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that she was delivering sacred verses on a Spanish radio station during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video was recorded by a London-based Sanskrit teacher who published the footage on her official social media accounts in November 2019, weeks before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

7 April 2020

More here.

255. These photos have circulated online since at least March 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic

Two photos showing notes scattered on a street have been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim they were taken in Italy during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The posts claim Italians have thrown money out of their homes in a symbolic gesture to highlight that money is futile during the pandemic. The claim is false; the photos have circulated online since at least March 2019 in reports about two separate incidents in Venezuela.

7 April 2020

More here.

254. Hoax circulates in India that government has banned coronavirus-related posts on social media

A claim that India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has made it a “punishable offence” for citizens to publish posts on social media about the novel coronavirus has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. The claim is false; India’s official Press Information Bureau said it had made no such law; an online search for the purported government minister who issued the alleged ban yielded no results.

7 April 2020

More here.

253. This CNN broadcast has been doctored, Nigerian leader did not test positive for coronavirus

An image of a purported CNN broadcast shared thousands of times in multiple social media posts claims Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and his chief of staff Abba Kyari tested positive for the novel coronavirus. But while Kyari has indeed tested positive for the virus, there is no evidence to support the claim that Buhari was infected with COVID-19. The picture of the alleged broadcast was fabricated using another screenshot of a CNN show.

6 April 2020

More here.

252. A Sri Lankan doctor develops COVID-19 test kits in Australia?The doctor interviewed in this report did not say he was involved in the development of COVID-19 test kits. 

A video has been viewed thousands of times in Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows a Sri Lankan doctor who invented a rapid test kit for the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The claim is false; the doctor seen in the video was being interviewed by an Australian television channel to discuss the benefits of rapid COVID-19 testing; the doctor told AFP he was not involved in the development of testing kits. 

6 April 2020

More here.

251. Italians singing Chinese song to thank China for COVID-19 aid? This video shows a Belarusian band singing a Chinese song before the COVID-19 outbreak.

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows Italian nationals expressing their gratitude to China for providing aid during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video shows a Belarusian band singing a Chinese song several months before COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

6 April 2020

More here.

250. Video of police detaining people during the novel coronavirus lockdown in Spain? No, this video has circulated in reports about an anti-government protest in Azerbaijan in 2019.

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in March 2020 alongside a claim that it shows police in Spain detaining people during a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video has circulated in reports about an anti-government protest in Azerbaijan in October 2019.

6 April 2020

More here.

249. No, this orangutan is not washing his hands during the COVID-19 pandemic, the footage has circulated since at least November 2019. 

A video of an orangutan washing its hands has been viewed millions of times in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts which claim the animal was imitating its zookeepers during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video of the orangutan has circulated in reports since at least November 2019, weeks before COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

6 April 2020

More here.

248. A video of Chinese people toppling 5G towers over coronavirus fears? No, footage of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in August 2019.

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook, Instagram and YouTube posts which claim it shows people in China toppling a 5G tower because of fears that they cause the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the video shows pro-democracy protesters toppling a smart lamppost in Hong Kong in August 2019, several months before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

6 April 2020

More here.

247. Experts dismiss claims that 5G wireless technology created the novel coronavirus

Numerous conspiracy theories shared on and off social media claim that 5G mobile networks are the cause of the novel coronavirus pandemic. This is false; experts told AFP that 5G is based on radio frequency and that this does not create viruses.

3 April 2020

More here.

246. This video has circulated in reports about people who died during the Hajj pilgrim to Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque in August 2019

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows bodies being removed from a hospital in Iran during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video has circulated in reports since at least August 2019 about a funeral procession for pilgrims who died during the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque.

3 April 2020

More here.

245. Extinction Rebellion said it did not issue this poster about the coronavirus

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it shows a poster issued by activist group Extinction Rebellion that states “Corona is the cure, humans are the disease”. The claim is false; Extinction Rebellion said that the image was published by an unaffiliated Twitter account and that the poster’s message in “no way” represents the global environmental movement’s “principles and values”.

3 April 2020

More here.

244. New misinformation circulates online in Asia about creation of vaccine and drug for COVID-19

Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter in March 2020 claim a new vaccine and a new drug have been developed to prevent and treat the novel coronavirus. The posts claim the developments were made by scientists in Japan and the Philippines respectively. The claims are misleading; the Japanese government announced in late March 2020 that Japanese scientists were testing a new drug, not a vaccine, to treat COVID-19; the Philippine Food and Drug Administration warned the other drug cited in the misleading posts was "unregistered" and not safe.

3 April 2020

More here.

243. This photo shows trucks branded with the image of the current Sri Lankan Prime Minister that were used in 2014

A photo of a fleet of blue lorries bearing the image of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has been shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that the lorries were distributing food during the novel coronavirus curfew. The claim is misleading; the photo in fact shows lorries that were used in a political initiative in 2014, more than five years before the coronavirus pandemic. Rajapaksa’s office also denied the claim, saying that authorities are pursuing legal action against those spreading the “false information”. 

3 April 2020

More here.

242. Singaporean authorities refute hoax about 'spot fines' for people violating social distancing orders

A post has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook which claim that Singapore has started enforcing spot fines for people who flout certain social distancing regulations during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the Singaporean government agency overseeing the enforcement of the social distancing order refuted the claim; there is no mention of spot fines for offenders in the recently announced government regulations.

3 April 2020

More here.

241. Misleading posts claim ventilators are ‘stuck’ in New York warehouse

Facebook posts featuring a photo of ventilators in the US state of New York claim the devices are “stuck in a warehouse.” This is misleading; New York is stockpiling supplies because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but emergency response staff say those in the photo were sent to hospitals within 24 hours of their receipt.

3 April 2020

More here.

240. Ethiopia has not approved traditional medicine to treat COVID-19

An article shared hundreds of times on Facebook claims that the Ethiopian government has approved a traditional medicine treatment for COVID-19 after successful clinical trials on animals and humans. However, the Ministry of Health denied the claims and Capital Ethiopia, which published the story, has corrected its Facebook post.

3 April 2020

More here.

239. Facebook posts falsely claim the US arrested a Chinese scientist who “created” coronavirus

Facebook posts shared thousands of times feature a video of US officials talking to reporters, with captions claiming they are announcing the arrest of a Chinese scientist who “created” the new coronavirus. However, the footage has nothing to do with COVID-19 and scientists have refuted allegations the virus was deliberately created.

3 April 2020

More here.

238. This video shows donations for victims of a deadly earthquake that hit eastern Turkey in January 2020

A video of food packets deposited on a street has been viewed millions of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows food donations for people in Turkey during a novel coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the video shows donations for victims of a deadly earthquake that struck eastern Turkey in January 2020, almost two months before Turkey recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. 

3 April 2020

Continue reading here.

237. WHO did not warn against eating cabbage during the COVID-19 pandemic

Multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter claim the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against eating cabbage during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the WHO said it did not issue any such advisory against consuming cabbage; the US-based Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is "no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food".

2 April 2020

More here.

236. A photo of two Italian doctors who died of COVID-19? No, this photo has circulated in reports about a couple at an airport in Barcelona in March 2020

A photo of a man and woman embracing has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows two Italian doctors who died of a novel coronavirus, COVID-19, after contracting the disease from the patients they treated. The claim is false; this is an Associated Press photo of a couple kissing at an airport in Barcelona, Spain.

2 April 2020

More here.

235. ‘It’s a myth’: South Australian health authorities dismiss rumour about an ice rink-turned-morgue for COVID-19 victims

A claim that 500 body bags were delivered to an ice skating rink outside the Australian city of Adelaide has been shared widely on Facebook during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; South Australian health authorities said the claim is a “myth” and a spokesperson for the local ice rink said “the rumour is completely false”. 

2 April 2020

More here.

234. Australian health authorities dismiss hoax claim about 'rescue packs' for vulnerable patients

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared thousands of times by Australian social media users claim that people with pre-existing respiratory conditions will be given a “rescue pack” of medication from their general practitioners during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; Australia’s Department of Health dismissed the rumour as “misinformation”, adding that patients will not receive “rescue packs” from their doctors unless previously prescribed.

2 April 2020

More here.

233. Calling this number will not get you food aid in the US

Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook claim to provide an emergency food stamp hotline. This is false; the phone number is not for the US Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for food stamps, and instead is a disconnected number formerly belonging to rapper Mike Jones.

2 April 2020

More here.

232. Patients outside hospitals in Italy? No, these photos show the aftermath of a powerful earthquake in Croatia

Six photos of people sitting in wheelchairs and lying in hospital beds outside on a street have been shared hundreds of times on Facebook, Twitter and online forums alongside a claim they show scenes in Italy during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the photos actually show the aftermath of a strong earthquake that hit the Croatian capital of Zagreb in March 2020. 

2 April 2020

More here.

231. Sri Lankan authorities say medical facilities at this hospital will remain open to all COVID-19 patients

A photo of a Sri Lankan military hospital has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim that it has been reserved exclusively for the use of "VIPs" who test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; Sri Lankan military and hospital authorities told AFP that the military hospital and the country's other medical facilities are being prepared for all COVID-19 patients.

2 April 2020

More here.

230. Photos of vaping illness patients used to make false COVID-19 claim

Posts shared more than 20,000 times on Facebook feature a photo of a crying child and two others showing a woman and a man in hospital beds, claiming that the boy’s parents are infected with the novel coronavirus. This is false, the pictures do not depict a family and circulated online prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2 April 2020

More here.

229. Hemingway phrase misrepresented as Trump and Biden statement on COVID-19 death toll

Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times claim that US President Donald Trump or presidential candidate Joe Biden referred to the novel coronavirus virus pandemic as a time when “people are dying that have never died before.” This is false; there is no record of either man saying this, and letters from Ernest Hemingway show the phrase can be traced to the famed US author.

2 April 2020

More here.

228. Health authorities warn of false COVID-19 prevention tips online

Facebook posts shared thousands of times recommend various practices to prevent COVID-19, including gargling salt water, drinking tea and avoiding ice cream. Health experts told AFP there is no evidence to support these claims and say washing your hands regularly is the best way to stay healthy.

2 April 2020

Continue reading here.

227. False claim circulates online that China and Japan are 'free' of COVID-19

A post has been shared multiple times on Facebook in March 2020 that claims China and Japan are “free” of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The claim is false; data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows new cases continue to be reported in both countries.

2 April 2020

Continue reading here.

226. Misinformation spreads in Thailand about police powers to fine people who fail to wear face masks in public

A claim that police in Thailand can issue fines to anyone who does not wear a face mask in public during the novel coronavirus pandemic has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and Line Messenger.  The claim is false; Thai legal experts told AFP there is no law in the country that allows police to fine people for not wearing face masks; Thai police issued several statements calling the claims “fake news”.

2 April 2020

Continue reading here.

225. Chinese Muslims in mass prayer despite coronavirus crisis? No, this video has circulated online since at least 2011 -- years before the COVID-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed hundreds of times in multiple social media posts alongside a claim it shows Chinese Muslims performing a communal Friday prayer in a mosque despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video has circulated in reports about Muslims performing a mass prayer at a mosque in the western Chinese city of Xining in 2011, nine years before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

2 April 2020

Continue reading here.

224. False claims on patents fuel novel coronavirus conspiracy theories online

Posts on social media claim there is a US patent on the novel coronavirus and a European one for a vaccine, citing specific patent numbers. This is false; the US number relates to an application about a different coronavirus, and the European number is for a patent aimed at a disease that afflicts poultry.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

223. Myth circulates online that 'new' hantavirus disease has emerged in China

A claim has circulated in multiple Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that a "new virus" named hantavirus has emerged in China in March 2020. The posts were viewed hundreds of thousands of times as the world battled the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The claim is false; scientists say hantavirus is not a new virus and was first detected during the Korean War in the 1950s; the US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the virus has almost exclusively been found to pass from rodents to humans, rather than from person to person.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

222. These images show vegetables being donated in Sri Lanka in 2019, months before the COVID-19 pandemic

Seven photos have been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter, alongside a claim that they show vegetables donated to disadvantaged people during a curfew prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic in Sri Lanka. The photos have been shared in a misleading context; they actually show vegetables being donated at an event in southern Sri Lanka in August 2019, more than eight months before the curfew was implemented. 

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

221. Singapore General Hospital said its car park would be temporarily used to test suspected COVID-19 patients

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim that it shows a hospital car park in Singapore which will be converted into wards during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is misleading; the hospital clarified its car park would temporarily be used to test patients suspected to have been infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, but it would not be converted into “wards”.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

220. Bodies of COVID-19 victims being dumped into a ditch in Italy? No, this clip is a scene from the 2007 US television series Pandemic

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook which claim it shows bodies of novel coronavirus victims being thrown into a ditch in Italy. The claim is false; the footage was taken from the 2007 US television programme Pandemic.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

219. China sent medical supplies, not doctors, to help Malaysia combat the COVID-19 pandemic

A photo of a group of people holding a banner that bears the Chinese and Malaysian flags has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows Chinese doctors arriving in Malaysia to combat the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the photo actually shows medical supplies donated by China that were delivered to a hospital in Malaysia.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

218. Dozens die after a congregation drinks Dettol to prevent coronavirus? Police dismiss claims as a hoax

Multiple articles widely shared on Facebook claim that 59 church members died after drinking household disinfectant which their pastor said would prevent coronavirus infections. The claims, although based on an old story, are false -- South African police denied any current investigations on their part.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

217. Hoax circulates on social media that Australian supermarket worker has tested positive for COVID-19 in New South Wales suburb

A claim that a trolley collector at a supermarket in the Australian state of New South Wales tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in March 2020 has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook. The claim is false; the shopping centre where the supermarket is located said that it had no confirmed COVID-19 cases in March 2020; local health officials in New South Wales also did not report any confirmed cases in the suburb cited in the misleading Facebook posts in the final days of March.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

216. This photo shows people participating in an art project in Germany, not bodies of COVID-19 victims on the streets of Italy

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows the bodies of people who died in Italy after they became infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the photo actually shows people participating in a 2014 art project in the German city of Frankfurt.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

215. This video has circulated in media reports about an incident in Thailand (not of man smearing sweat on lift buttons in Hong Kong)

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows a man wiping his sweat on the buttons of a lift in a residential block in Hong Kong. The claim is false; the footage has circulated in media reports about an incident in Thailand.

1 April 2020

Continue reading here.

214. Spanish politician misidentified in posts saying soccer players should find novel coronavirus cure

Posts on social media claim that a “Spanish biological researcher” called on international soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to find a cure for COVID-19 since they earn much more money than scientists. However, the accompanying photo shows a Spanish politician speaking in April 2018, well before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

31 March 2020

More here.

213. Buckingham Palace did not say the Queen tested positive for coronavirus

Multiple news reports circulating in Nigeria claim that Buckingham Palace has announced Britain’s Queen Elizabeth tested positive for COVID-19. Although the Queen’s eldest son was diagnosed with the disease, the Palace said the monarch herself is “in good health”.

31 March 2020

Continue reading here.

212. Thailand’s emergency decree to combat COVID-19 did not include a curfew in March 2020

A claim has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter that an emergency decree issued in Thailand due to the novel coronavirus pandemic included a strict curfew. The claim is false; the emergency decree declared on March 25, 2020 by Thailand’s prime minister did not include a curfew.

31 March 2020

Continue reading here.

211. This video shows police arresting a knife-wielding man in Brazil

A video of police arresting a man has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows police in Italy detaining a man who flouted a national lockdown during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the footage in fact shows police arresting a knife-wielding man in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo.

31 March 2020

Continue reading here.

210. World Health Organization refutes misleading claim it increased Thailand's 'pandemic level' for COVID-19

A screenshot of a World Health Organization (WHO) webpage has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and messaging app Line alongside a claim it shows international health authorities raised Thailand’s pandemic stage to a "level 4" during the novel coronavirus crisis. The claim is false; the screenshot in fact shows a WHO document that categorised Thailand as "level 4" in terms of "preparedness and response readiness" for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19; the Thai government has its own classification system for domestic pandemics, the highest of which is “phase 3".

30 March 2020

Continue reading here.

209. Health experts warn against mixing rum, bleach and fabric softener to make 'hand sanitiser'

A video has been have been viewed thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim it shows how to make a hand sanitiser that is effective in protecting against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The video appears to show someone mixing rum, bleach and fabric softener in a bottle before rubbing the solution on their hands. The claim is false; health experts warn that such homemade hand sanitisers can be harmful to a person's health.

30 March 2020

Continue reading here.

208. No evidence drinking tea can cure or relieve symptoms of COVID-19, doctors say

A post shared repeatedly on WhatsApp and Facebook claims a Chinese doctor has discovered that drinking tea is effective in curing and relieving symptoms of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; health experts say there is insufficient scientific evidence to show that drinking tea is effective in preventing or curing COVID-19 infections; as of March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no cure for COVID-19.

30 March 2020

Continue reading here.

207. Singapore’s Ministry of Health says it did not issue these COVID-19 'guidelines'

A post has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter with a claim it is an official advisory issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Health about the first symptoms of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; a spokesperson for the Singaporean health body told AFP it had not issued the purported advisory.

30 March 2020

Continue reading here.

206. The audio in this Associated Press footage of Saddam Hussein has been doctored

A video of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram alongside a claim it shows him stating the US threatened to spread the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Iraq during a meeting in the 1990s. The claim is false; the video's audio has been doctored; the original Associated Press archive footage does not include any reference to COVID-19.

30 March 2020

Continue reading here.

205. Reopening date for South Africa’s schools has not been announced

Multiple posts on social media claim that schools in South Africa will reopen months from now in September, as a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases. The claims are false; the Department of Basic Education has not made any such announcement and refuted the claims.

29 March 2020

Continue reading here.

204. Nigeria is not paying citizens for staying at home amidst coronavirus pandemic

A web publication shared hundreds of times on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp in Nigeria claims the government will pay each citizen 8,500 naira ($23.60) monthly to encourage Nigerians to stay at home in a bid to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus. But the claim is false; officials have dismissed the claim, and the author of the viral publication admitted it was incorrect. 

27 March 2020

Continue reading here.

203. Australia's Department of Health did not issue a warning that 'using petrol pumps can spread COVID-19'

A purported warning from Australian hospitals has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook that using petrol pumps can enable the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; Australia’s Department of Health said it did not issue the purported advisory; scientists say the virus is unlikely to survive on petrol pumps outside as sunlight and lack of moisture generally kill it; motorists are advised to regularly wash their hands to avoid infection.

27 March 2020

Continue reading here.

202. This video has circulated online about a prank staged in Brazil in 2019

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows a drone launching fireworks at people who breached a curfew in Malaysia during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the video's audio has been manipulated to include a man speaking in Malaysian; the original clip actually shows a prank that was staged by a Brazilian influencer in Brazil in July 2019. 

27 March 2020

Continue reading here.

201. Articles spread Tim Hortons closure hoax in Canada

Two articles claiming that iconic coffee chain Tim Hortons will close all Canada franchises on March 30, 2020 because of the novel coronavirus were shared more than 150,000 times on Facebook. This is false; though locations are closed to dining-in, drive-throughs remain open, a spokeswoman for the chain told AFP.

27 March 2020

Continue reading here.

200. These photos show the coffins of victims of a boat disaster in 2013

Photographs shared hundreds of times online purport to show the coffins of Italian victims of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the pictures date back to October 2013 when hundreds drowned in a boat tragedy in the Mediterranean. 

27 March 2020

Continue reading here.

199. Experts say eating garlic does not prevent COVID-19 -- and onions are no cure either

Multiple videos seen tens of thousands of times on Facebook claim garlic and onions can prevent and cure infection from novel coronavirus. This is false; the World Health Organization says garlic cannot prevent or treat COVID-19.

27 March 2020

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198. This footage of looting was filmed years before the pandemic

Footage purportedly showing a looting spree in Mexico prompted by panic over the novel coronavirus was aired on multiple Facebook live streams and viewed by tens of thousands of people during the week of March 23, 2020. Posts sharing the streams claimed that the chaotic scene was happening in real-time. The claim is false; the streams showed old footage from a 2017 looting incident in Mexico that was being played on a loop.

27 March 2020

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197. False claim circulates online that certain countries in Asia are using helicopters to spray 'COVID-19 disinfectant'

Purported advisories urging residents to stay indoors while national air force helicopters spray disinfectant over homes to kill off the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, have been circulated online in Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The warning messages have been shared thousands of times on Facebook and WhatsApp. But the claim is false; both the Sri Lankan and Philippine governments said their air forces were not involved in any such operations.

27 March 2020

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196. This video has circulated online more than one year before COVID-19 was first detected

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows a shaman curing a novel coronavirus patient in Malaysia. The claim is false; the video has circulated online in posts about a hospital in Indonesia since at least October 2018, more than one year before COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

27 March 2020

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195. This video shows police officers arresting protesters in Hong Kong in August 2019

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which claim it shows Chinese police arresting people infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the video shows police arresting pro-democracy protesters at a subway station in Hong Kong in August 2019.

27 March 2020

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194. Wet wipes not recommended for use as DIY coronavirus protection masks

A post shared more than 165,000 times on Facebook includes a video of a woman turning a baby wipe into a face mask to “protect against coronavirus.” The company that sells the wipes says they should not be used in this way, and health experts also recommend caution.

26 March 2020

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193. Inhaling steam will not treat or cure novel coronavirus infection

A video viewed more than 2.4 million times on Facebook urges people to inhale steam to “kill” the novel coronavirus. But experts say that doing so will not treat or cure the viral infection, and could in fact be harmful.

26 March 2020

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192. This video has circulated online since at least 2013 and shows people receiving Bibles

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows the Koran being distributed to people in China after it lifted a "ban" on the Islamic holy text following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least 2013 in reports about people receiving copies of the Bible in China.

26 March 2020

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191. US social media users mischaracterize Canada’s COVID-19 aid package

As the US government moved to approve a $2 trillion stimulus package to address the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, a short block of text outlining Canada’s alleged response to the outbreak flourished on social media. The claims about school closings and economic support are misleading; no province has officially closed schools through the end of the year, only individuals directly impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for financial aid, and mortgage relief is granted by banks on a case by case basis.

26 March 2020

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190. This meme does not show fully-stocked shelves during swine flu pandemic

A meme shared on Facebook and Twitter claims to show an image of fully stocked shelves of toilet paper, purportedly during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, above another of barren shelves during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The post is misleading; the image of the stocked shelves is a screenshot from US news footage shot this year, not in 2009.

26 March 2020

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189. US President Donald Trump did not announce a coronavirus vaccine was 'ready'

A video of US President Donald Trump and a top US pharmaceutical executive speaking at a press conference has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts alongside a claim that it shows them announcing a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was "ready" to be administered. The claim is false; neither Trump nor the pharmaceutical executive make any reference to a vaccine being "ready" for distribution; as of March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) states there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19.

26 March 2020

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188. This video shows two separate incidents involving different women in supermarkets

A video has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook which claim it shows a woman who was detained by police in Australia after she tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and was filmed spitting at a supermarket in a Sydney suburb. The claim is misleading; the video has been created from two clips of separate incidents involving different women; police in Australia said the first clip shows a woman who was questioned and released after a disturbance at a store in a Sydney suburb; the Australian supermarket chain cited in the misleading posts said the second clip was not filmed in its stores.

26 March 2020

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187. This photo shows a COVID-19 test kit developed by a South Korean company

An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim that it shows a medicine created by US scientists that can cure the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the photo in fact shows a COVID-19 test kit developed by a South Korean company; as of March 2020, international health experts have said there is no "cure" or vaccine for COVID-19.

26 March 2020

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186. The Philippine health department said it did not issue this 'checklist' for COVID-19 symptoms

A purported checklist for symptoms of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it was issued by the Philippine Department of Health. The claim is false; the Philippine health body said it did not issue the chart.

26 March 2020

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185. This photo was taken in South Africa in 2016 -- it is unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic

A screenshot of a purported news broadcast showing a lion in the street and reporting that Russia has deployed hundreds of lions to maintain order during the novel coronavirus lockdown has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. The claim is false; the photo used in the image was taken in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016; Russia has also not announced any major coronavirus lockdown.

25 March 2020

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184. Photo of ‘COVID-19’ rail tanker is not genuine

A Facebook post shared tens of thousands of times purportedly shows a rail freight tanker with “COVID-19” stamped on one side. The image has circulated globally but it is false, the tanker operating company said. And Railinc, a corporation that manages an industry-wide database, said there is no such mark as “COVID.”

25 March 2020

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183. An old photo of Buhari from before the pandemic was doctored to add face masks

A photo circulating on Facebook in Nigeria appears to show President Muhammadu Buhari shaking hands with the nation’s Code of Conduct Bureau Chairman Mohammed Isa while both men are wearing face masks — a seeming flouting of precautions during the novel coronavirus pandemic. This is not what happened. The image was doctored using an old photo, taken long before the pandemic.

25 March 2020

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182. The Philippines’ social security agency said this report about a COVID-19 benefit payment was 'fake news'

A purported news report has been shared on multiple Facebook pages which claims that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte approved the release of P20,000 (USD $400) to all recipients of the Philippines’ Social Security System (SSS) to help them through the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the SSS said the report was “fake news"; the website that published the claim is also not a reputable news source.

25 March 2020

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181. Hoax circulates that UK hospital has issued special advice to staff to prevent COVID-19 infection

A lengthy text post has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook which purportedly contains advice on how to prevent infection from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The post claims the advice was issued by a UK hospital to its medical staff. The claim is false; the hospital named in the misleading Facebook posts denied issuing the guidelines; the posts also contained several false claims previously debunked by AFP Fact Check.

25 March 2020

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180. This video has circulated since 2015 in reports about an aerosol explosion in Saudi Arabia

A video of a fire erupting inside a vehicle has been viewed hundreds of times on Facebook, Twitter and on messaging app Line in March 2020 alongside a claim it shows an explosion that was sparked by an alcohol-based disinfectant used during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video has circulated in media reports about a car explosion in Saudi Arabia since at least 2015, almost five years before the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

25 March 2020

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179. This Pakistani bank said no employees had tested positive for COVID-19 and its branches remained open

A screenshot of a purported internal email disclosing that a bank in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi was closed after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. The claim is false; the bank said in a statement that “no employee at any” branch had tested positive for COVID-19, and that all branches remained “open and fully operative.”

25 March 2020

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178. Indian authorities refute 'fake' claim about food markets closing in Chennai during COVID-19 lockdown

A claim that all fruit and vegetable markets in the Indian city of Chennai and across the state of Tamil Nadu have been ordered to close in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. The claim is false; Chennai’s municipal authority called the social media posts “fake”, and Tamil Nadu’s chief minister said that stores selling “essential items” such as groceries are allowed to operate as normal despite a nationwide lockdown.

25 March 2020

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177. This video has circulated in media reports about a man on a subway train in Brussels

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows a US soldier spreading the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, by wiping his saliva on a subway train handrail in the Chinese city of Wuhan in October 2019. The claim is false; the video circulated in reports in March 2020 about an incident on a subway in Belgium; the Belgian transport body said the man in the video had been arrested over the incident.

25 March 2020

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176. Nigerian TV screenshot of '472 confirmed cases' refers to Lassa fever ⁠— not COVID-19

A screenshot of a Nigerian television station showing a breakdown of "472 confirmed cases" has been shared on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp alongside claims it shows novel coronavirus cases across the country. But the image is being shared out of context: It shows figures for Lassa fever, not coronavirus. 

25 March 2020

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175. Video shows Zimbabwe police beating opposition members, not churchgoers defying virus rules

A video shared thousands of times on Facebook claims to show police in Zimbabwe beating churchgoers because their place of worship refused to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The claims are false; the video was filmed before the virus outbreak. It shows opposition supporters being dispersed after gathering to hear their leader.

24 March 2020

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174. Ugandan and Kenyan authorities reject claims that they told landlords to stop rent collection

Posts circulating on social media claim that Ugandan and Kenyan authorities have instructed landlords to stop collecting rent due to the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the countries have issued public guidance amid the pandemic, but there has been no official communication on rent payments and government officials dismissed the reports.

24 March 2020

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173. Viral WhatsApp voice note in Nigeria makes misleading claims about COVID-19 fatalities projections

A viral WhatsApp voice note in Nigeria claims that the coronavirus could kill up to 45 million Nigerians. This is misleading, as data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) shows. The message makes several other false claims, which we debunk here.

24 March 2020

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172. Viral video misidentifies COVID-19 patient as Canadian PM’s wife

A video allegedly showing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife in a hospital bed urging people to stay home to avoid ending up seriously ill with the novel coronavirus has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. The woman in the video is not Sophie Trudeau, but a British waitress who has been infected with COVID-19.

24 March 2020

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171. Indian health authorities refute myth that juiced vegetables can cure COVID-19

A post has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp which claims a regional government in India has recommended that the juice of bitter gourd, a vegetable often used in traditional medicine, is an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; Indian authorities dismissed the claim, calling it “absolutely false”; health experts said there is no evidence the vegetable is an effective remedy for COVID-19.

24 March 2020

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170. Experts refute misleading claim that bathing in hot water can prevent COVID-19

A post shared repeatedly on Facebook claims that taking a hot bath is an effective remedy against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is misleading; health experts say there is no scientific evidence that bathing in hot water can prevent people from catching the virus; the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that bathing or showering in very hot water can be “harmful”.

24 March 2020

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169. This photo shows coffins for dead migrants after a boat capsized off the coast of Italy in 2013

A photo of a room lined with coffins has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows Italian nationals killed during the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The claim is false; the photo actually shows coffins for a group of dead migrants at an Italian airport in October 2013 after their boat sank off the coast of Italy.

24 March 2020

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168. Australian health authorities refute hoax about 'free home checks' for suspected COVID-19 cases

A purported emergency notice from Australian authorities has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter. It states people can receive free home visits from doctors during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; Australian health authorities denied issuing the notice, adding the hoax had prompted “unnecessary phone calls” that had overwhelmed public health units.

24 March 2020

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167. Police dismiss false claim that Australian factory hoarded COVID-19 supplies to export to China

A post has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter which claims that a factory in the Australian city of Melbourne has been hoarding essential supplies including baby formula, toilet paper and hand sanitiser for export to China during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; police said the accusation was "false". The company cited in the misleading posts also refuted the claim.

24 March 2020

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166. Health experts refute misleading 'timeline' of COVID-19 symptoms

An infographic has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows a nine-day timeline of the symptoms of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. This infographic is misleading; it was not distributed by an official health authority and health experts say COVID-19 symptoms vary in duration and severity.

24 March 2020

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165. Misleading COVID-19 flyer falsely linked to US Veterans Affairs hospital

A flyer said to offer official advice about the novel coronavirus from a Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system in the US state of Oregon is being shared on Facebook. The flyer is fake, it was not issued by the Roseburg VA and health experts told AFP the advice it contains is misleading.

23 March 2020

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164. US biotech company says its COVID-19 vaccine is in the development phase

A television news report about a US biotech company has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim that the company successfully created a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, within "three hours". The claim is misleading; the US biotech company said the vaccine still requires human testing and will not be made available until at least the end of 2020.

23 March 2020

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163. This video shows a security exercise simulating a hostage-taking at Dakar airport

A video purporting to show panic-stricken travellers infected with the novel coronavirus at an airport in Senegal has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. However, these images are actually taken from a security exercise simulating a hostage-taking at Dakar airport in November 2019.

23 March 2020

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162. Gargling warm salt water or vinegar does not prevent coronavirus infection, health experts say

A graphic has been shared thousands of times on Facebook which claims that gargling warm water with salt or vinegar can eliminate the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; international health authorities and experts do not list gargling as an effective remedy or prevention method for COVID-19.

23 March 2020

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161. This graphic with a purported quote from Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo has been doctored

A graphic has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it contains a quote from Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo that bats are the "enemy" in the novel coronavirus pandemic. The graphic is attributed to Inquirer.net, a Philippine media outlet. The claim is false; the graphic has been doctored from an earlier Inquirer.net post in which Robredo was quoted about confusion surrounding the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

23 March 2020

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160. This video has been doctored -- it does not feature the voice of Chinese businessman Jack Ma

A video viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube purports to show billionaire businessman Jack Ma praising China’s response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. But the video has been doctored; the original video shows Jack Ma at a meeting of former Alibaba employees in 2018, at least one year before COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan; the voiceover in the clip has been taken from another clip which shows a different man speaking.

23 March 2020

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159. Indian authorities refute 'fake' advisory which claimed disinfectant would be sprayed across India to tackle COVID-19

A purported advisory has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp posts that claims a disinfectant will be sprayed into the air overnight in India in an effort to kill the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The posts urge residents to remain indoors during the spraying. The claim is false; Indian authorities said the advisory was "fake" and that no such measure had been announced.

23 March 2020

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158. This image has circulated in reports about China testing a potential COVID-19 vaccine that has not been approved by health authorities

An image has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows China administering the "world's first new coronavirus vaccine" after the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the photos in this image have circulated in reports about China testing a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

23 March 2020

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157. These photos have circulated since 2011 in reports about the Indian yoga guru being hospitalised after a nine-day fast

Two photos have been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that they show Indian yoga guru Swami Ramdev being admitted to hospital after drinking cow urine in an effort to protect himself against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This claim is false; these photos were taken in 2011 and show the guru receiving treatment at a hospital after fasting for nine days.

20 March 2020

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156. There is no evidence to support the claim that Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo tested positive for the novel coronavirus

A story that has been shared thousands of times in social media posts claims Ghana’s president and a senior minister had tested positive for COVID-19. But the claim is false;  there is no evidence to support the allegation and Ghana’s information minister has dismissed it.

20 March 2020

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155. Scientists in Israel are still working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19

An image shared thousands of times on Facebook purports to be evidence that Israel has developed a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; the image used to illustrate a vial of the new drug is originally a stock picture while the MIGAL Research Institute in Israel, despite having a head start,  continues to work on a vaccine for COVID-19.

20 March 2020

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154. UNHCR condemns fake notice which claimed refugees in Malaysia are resisting COVID-19 tests

A claim that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated “migrants and illegals” in Malaysia were resisting test for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, over fears of arrest has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook. The claim is false; UNHCR officials in Malaysia said the alleged statement is fake and condemned the erroneous claim for stoking “unnecessary fear and distrust”.

20 March 2020

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153. This photo does not show the pilot who tested positive after visiting a cricket game in Sri Lanka

A photo has been shared in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows a SriLankan Airlines pilot who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the local health authority told AFP the pilot is not pictured in the photo; the man wrongly identified in the posts denied the claim.

20 March 2020

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152. WhatsApp message falsely links BC mall to COVID-19 outbreak

A message shared on WhatsApp and Facebook claims that 15 coronavirus cases were linked to Burnaby’s Metrotown mall, in the western Canadian province of British Columbia. This is false; provincial health officials and the mall administrator told AFP that no cases are connected to the mall to date.

20 March 2020

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151. Misleading report claims UV light, chlorine and high temperatures can kill COVID-19

A report which includes a list of  "seven evil things" that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is “afraid of' has been shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter. The list includes UV light, chlorine and high temperatures. The claim is misleading; health experts say such practices are only effective when applied properly and can even be harmful if used incorrectly.

20 March 2020

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150. The Indian government said there is no free mask scheme in place -- the claim was published on a fraudulent website

A claim that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instituted a government scheme to distribute free face masks in an effort to curb the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter. The posts link to a website that requests users to input personal information to submit an order for the masks. However, the claim is false; the Indian government said there is no such scheme in place and the linked website is not an official government site. 

20 March 2020

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149. 'Red soap, white handkerchiefs': experts refute misleading coronavirus prevention 'tips'

A list of purported preventive measures for individuals to take against COVID-19 has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook. The posts claim the guidelines were revealed by a "Chinese doctor" and helped China to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. But the recommended practices are misleading; health experts told AFP there is no scientific basis for many of the claims, which include using red-coloured soap and white handkerchiefs, as well as obtaining specific light bulbs. 

20 March 2020

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148. This video was made by a UK public hospital trust in 2010 about infections in hospitals

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it was produced by the Canadian health authority to illustrate how the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is transmitted between people. The claim is false; the video was produced by a regional hospital trust within the UK’s public healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), in May 2010 about how infections spread in hospitals.

20 March 2020

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147. Hot air from saunas, hair dryers won’t prevent or treat COVID-19

A video viewed hundreds of thousands of times claims that breathing in hot air from a hair dryer or in a sauna can prevent or cure COVID-19. This is false; an expert in coronaviruses said these methods would not be effective, while a cell biologist said there is no evidence the virus can be treated via heat.

20 March 2020

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146. False posts claim COVID-19 existed before 2019, use animal vaccines as proof

Facebook posts claim that the novel coronavirus is not a new disease, showing photos of vials of coronavirus vaccines for animals as evidence. This is false; coronaviruses affecting cattle or canines differ from the new virus strain affecting humans, for which no vaccine exists.

20 March 2020

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145. This video has circulated online since November 2019 -- weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak

A video of shoppers panic buying and fighting has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, YouTube and various media sites alongside a claim it shows panic buying in the United States during the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the video has been shared in a misleading context; it has circulated online since November 2019, weeks before the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

19 March 2020

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144. South African health authorities urge public not to share hotline graphics with false information

Graphics displaying Department of Health logos with the COVID-19 hotline number for South Africa have been shared thousands of times on social media. While the toll-free number is correct, the information that follows is false, according to health authorities.

19 March 2020

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143. Health experts warn using water in an ablution ritual alone cannot kill the novel coronavirus

Multiple media reports and social media posts claim that water used in an Islamic ablution ritual can kill the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; health experts warn that water alone cannot kill the virus and recommend that people wash their hands with soap and water for effective protection.

19 March 2020

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142. Manufacturers say 'free baby formula' offer is a hoax, after coronavirus sparks panic buying

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times in March 2020 claim that consumers can claim a free case of baby formula if they call the relevant manufacturer. The posts were shared after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, had become a pandemic, prompting panic buying in some countries. The claim is false; several manufacturers told AFP that the post is a hoax; the leading industry association noted that official guidelines forbid the donation of formula to the public.

19 March 2020

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141. This video was filmed in 2011, nearly a decade before the novel coronavirus outbreak

Footage of a large crowd rushing into an ALDI supermarket has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside claims that the video shows panic buyers storming the supermarket during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video was in fact filmed in Germany in 2011, nearly a decade before the coronavirus pandemic broke out. 

19 March 2020

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140. Misinformation circulates online that Australia has announced a nationwide 'shut down'

A message shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook posts claims the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was set to implement a nationwide "shut down" from March 18, 2020 in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the Australian Prime Minister’s Office refuted the details of the post; Australia's government told its citizens on March 18 not to travel abroad and warned those already overseas to come home but said it did not order a "lockdown"; AFP found the wording of the misleading posts was identical to Malaysia’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown.

19 March 2020

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139. Hoax claim circulates online that Israel has no COVID-19 cases after it developed a 'cure'

Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter claim Israel has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as it has already developed a "cure". The claim is false; official World Health Organization (WHO) data and Israeli media reports state at least 298 people have been confirmed to have contracted the disease as of March 16; Israel has implemented travel restrictions and closed businesses in response to the spread of COVID-19. Various countries have been working develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and WHO guidance currently states there is no "cure" for the virus to date. 

18 March 2020

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138. The video has circulated in media reports about coronavirus deaths in Iran

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows dozens of corpses inside body bags in Italy after the oubreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The video has been shared in a misleading context; it has previously circulated in media reports about people who died after contracting COVID-19 in Iran; a man recording the video can be heard stating that he is inside a mortuary in the Iranian city of Qom.

18 March 2020

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137. This video has been doctored -- scientists have not found bananas prevent coronavirus infection

A video has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which claim it shows a genuine news report about Australian researchers discovering bananas can help prevent infection by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the video has been doctored from a news report by the Australian television channel ABC to include references to bananas; the scientist cited in the report told AFP the claim is untrue.

18 March 2020

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136. The Philippine Department of Health says it did not issue this advisory

Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter claim Israel has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as it has already developed a "cure". The claim is false; official World Health Organization (WHO) data and Israeli media reports state at least 298 people have been confirmed to have contracted the disease as of March 16; Israel has implemented travel restrictions and closed businesses in response to the spread of COVID-19. Various countries have been working develop a vaccine for COVID-19 and WHO guidance currently states there is no "cure" for the virus to date. 

18 March 2020

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135. Smoking could increase your risk of developing severe coronavirus illness, WHO says

Multiple Facebook posts claim the World Health Organization (WHO) has said smoking prevents people from getting infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the WHO says smoking does not protect a person from COVID-19 infection and warns it can actually cause health conditions that increase the risk of severe coronavirus illness. 

17 March 2020

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134. Hoax report circulates that Cristiano Ronaldo will convert his hotels into coronavirus hospitals

A claim that footballer Cristiano Ronaldo plans to turn his hotels in Portugal into hospitals for people infected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been shared tens of thousands of times in multiple languages on various social media platforms. The claim is false; a spokesperson for the hotels said the claim was “inaccurate”; Ronaldo has also not mentioned any such plan on his social media platforms.

17 March 2020

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133. Health experts refute claim that ancient medicinal herbs are an effective coronavirus remedy

A photo of a prescription for an ancient herbal drink has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and WhatsApp alongside a claim that it is an effective remedy for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The prescription was purportedly written and shared by an Ayurveda doctor in Sri Lanka. The claim is misleading; medical experts advise against using herbal remedies to treat the coronavirus, and urge those experiencing symptoms to seek professional medical assistance.

17 March 2020

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132. Health experts say comparing death tolls of an emerging epidemic with longstanding diseases risks underplaying COVID-19

A chart has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit alongside a claim it shows the seriousness of the novel coronavirus epidemic has been exaggerated when its death toll is compared to other diseases. But health experts say the graphic is misleading and risks underplaying the danger of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which is a new disease with a fast-rising mortality rate.

17 March 2020

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131. This photo has circulated online since 2017 -- over two years before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A photo purportedly showing a well-stocked vegan food shelf while other food items are cleared out amid a round of panic buying during the novel coronavirus epidemic has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. This is false; this photo has circulated online since September 2017 in reports about panic buying after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the US.

17 March 2020

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130. These photos have circulated online since 2015 and show empty shelves at US supermarkets

Three photos have been repeatedly shared in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim they show empty supermarket shelves in Sri Lanka after panic buying sparked by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The photos have been used in a misleading context; they have circulated online since at least 2015 and actually show supermarkets in the US.

17 March 2020

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129. Sri Lankan officials refute false claim that the novel coronavirus has been discovered in poultry

Several photos have been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim they show poultry in Sri Lanka that was infected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; Sri Lankan authorities said the coronavirus has not been discovered in poultry; the photos were taken from various unrelated reports online and show chickens sickened with other diseases.

16 March 2020

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128. Doctors refute misleading online claim that consuming boiled ginger can cure novel coronavirus infections

Multiple posts on Facebook shared tens of thousands of times during the ongoing novel coronavirus epidemic in February 2020 claim ginger can “cure” coronavirus infections if it is boiled and consumed on an empty stomach. The claim is misleading; health experts say there is no scientific evidence boiled ginger can definitively relieve people of the viral infection, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) advised those showing symptoms to seek immediate medical help, instead of testing home remedies.

16 March 2020

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127. Health experts dismiss false claim that COVID-19 fits a pattern of viral outbreaks every 100 years

An infographic has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows that the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic fits a pattern of viral outbreaks that occur every 100 years. The claim is false; the infographic contains inaccurate information about historical viral outbreaks and ignores other epidemics that do not fit the assumed pattern; health experts told AFP that while certain viruses are seasonal in nature, there is no basis for the claim that viral outbreaks occur once every century.

16 March 2020

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126. The last day South African schools will be open is Wednesday, March 18; they will be closed thereafter

A notice widely shared on WhatsApp claims that all schools in South Africa would close on Monday, March 16, 2020. This is false: The last day of school will be Wednesday, March 18, and schools will be closed thereafter, as announced by South Africa’s Department of Basic Education.

16 March 2020

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125. False COVID-19 hotline number shared on Facebook in Ontario

A notice shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook advises Ontario residents to call 811 to arrange a home visit by medical specialists if they are showing novel coronavirus symptoms. This is false; 811 is not an official public health hotline in Ontario, and the provincial ministry of health is not organizing home visits, a spokeswoman told AFP.

16 March 2020

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124. Consuming silver particles will not prevent or treat novel coronavirus

Posts circulating on Facebook claim that colloidal silver -- silver particles in liquid -- can prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. This is false; US regulators say it is not safe for use against any disease.

13 March 2020

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123. The incident happened in another part of South Africa long before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A video shared hundreds of times on Facebook purports to show monkeys stealing food from a hospital in South Africa's capital Pretoria, pondering the country's readiness to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak. The claim is false; the video was taken before the COVID-19 crisis in a different part of the country.

13 March 2020

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122. Costco is not recalling bath tissue due to novel coronavirus contamination

A recall notice supposedly issued by retailer Costco for bath tissue contaminated by the novel coronavirus has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook in Canada. The notice is not authentic, according to a statement from the wholesaler, and the brand of bath tissue in question is not listed on official recall websites.

13 March 2020

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121. Employer did not hide advice to skip work on COVID-19 poster

Posts claiming an employer covered up part of a poster on novel coronavirus prevention that advised sick employees to stay home have been shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook. This is false; the recommendation that was covered up advises people to avoid large gatherings and does not mention staying home when sick.

13 March 2020

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120. This doctored image contains a 2015 photo of Tom Hanks and the ball in the movie 'Cast Away'

A photo of Hollywood actor Tom Hanks holding a volleyball has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts alongside it shows him in quarantine at a hospital in Australia after contracting the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The posts further claim hospital staff gifted Hanks the ball as a tribute to his character Chuck Noland in the 2000 film 'Cast Away', who "befriends" a volleyball. The claim is false; the image has been doctored using a 2015 photograph of Hanks and a stock photo of a hospital ward; the doctored photo emerged on a satirical website. 

13 March 2020

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119. Philippine Department of Health refutes hoax warning about visiting shopping malls and hotels during coronavirus epidemic

A purported Philippine government advisory has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim it lists shopping malls and hotels in the Philippines that the Department of Health advises against visiting during the novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim is misleading; the Philippine Department of Health said the purported advisory is "fake”.

13 March 2020

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118. This video has circulated online since 2017 about a hotel demolition in China’s Jiangsu province

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in March 2020 which claim it shows a hotel collapsing in the Chinese city of Quanzhou after it was used as a coronavirus quarantine facility. The claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least April 2017 about a hotel demolition in China’s Jiangsu province.

13 March 2020

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117. False claims that drinking water with lemon can prevent COVID-19 circulate online

A text shared thousands of times on Facebook in various countries claims that drinking warm water with lemon protects against the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; experts told AFP that there’s no proof this is effective in preventing the disease and that practising good hygiene is the best way to stay healthy. The posts also include several other false claims.

12 March 2020

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116. Picture of the novel coronavirus? No, this is a magnified photo of a weevil

Multiple Facebook posts have shared a photo alongside a claim that it shows coronavirus magnified 2,600 times. The claim is false; the image is a magnified photo of a weevil.

12 March 2020

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115. This video has previously circulated in reports about a free vegetable giveaway in Wuhan

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook alongside a claim it shows residents queuing for death certificates in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the ongoing novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim is misleading; the footage has previously circulated in reports about Wuhan residents gathering to collect free vegetables.

12 March 2020

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114. There have been no deaths from the novel coronavirus in South Africa (as of March 12, 2020)

An article shared thousands of times on Facebook claims that a family of three died from the new coronavirus at a hospital in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. The claim is false; there have been no deaths from the novel coronavirus in South Africa as of March 12, 2020. When the misleading article was published, there were zero confirmed cases in the province; as of March 12, there was one. 

12 March 2020

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113. Fake US hospital letter says alcohol reduces COVID-19 risks

A Facebook post shared 25,000 times features an image of a letter purportedly from a US hospital recommending people drink alcohol to help reduce the risks of novel coronavirus infection. This is false; Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City did not issue the letter, according to its staff.

11 March 2020

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112. World Health Organization refutes viral claims that holding your breath can test for COVID-19

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that holding your breath for more than 10 seconds is an effective test for the novel coronavirus, and that drinking water regularly can prevent the disease. The claims are false; the World Health Organization and other experts said there was no evidence to support these claims.

11 March 2020

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111. Donating blood in US does not get you a novel coronavirus test

Twitter users are claiming that people can get a novel coronavirus test by donating blood. This is false; the two organizations responsible for collecting the vast majority of the blood supply in the United States said they are not testing for COVID-19.

11 March 2020

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110. This report is a hoax -- the video was filmed one year before the novel coronavirus outbreak

An online report has been shared in repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube which purports to show Philippine authorities confiscating fake cigarettes that were spreading the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the video in the report actually shows the Philippines customs bureau seizing fake cigarettes in May 2018, more than one year before the coronavirus outbreak; the site that published the report is not a reputable news site.

11 March 2020

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109. This false claim about a brothel quarantined in Europe originated on a satirical website

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Weibo, Twitter and Facebook alongside a claim it shows a brothel in Europe where 86 people were quarantined due to the novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim circulated in posts in English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The claim is false; it originated on a satirical website based in Spain; the image in the posts shows a nightclub in the coastal Spanish city of Marbella.

11 March 2020

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108. These sheep videos were published online before Mongolia announced the donation to China

Two videos of large flocks of sheep have been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in late February 2020 alongside a claim they show 30,000 sheep that Mongolia donated to China during the novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim is misleading; both videos circulated online before Mongolia announced the donation on February 27, 2020. On February 28, 2020, Chinese officials said the two countries were still in the process of discussing logistics of the donation. 

11 March 2020

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107. There is no known cure for the novel coronavirus and the patient has not yet been officially cleared (as of March 11)

An article shared thousands of times claims that a South African patient infected with COVID-19 was cured. This is misleading: there is currently no known cure for the disease and resultantly any infected patient’s return to health should be described as a recovery. Moreover, the patient in question has not yet been officially cleared. 

11 March 2020

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106. World Health Organization refutes misleading claim that volcanic ash can kill coronavirus

Multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube claim ash produced by a volcano eruption in the Philippines in January 2020 can prevent the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The posts claim the volcano eruption helps to explain why the Philippines is “not that much affected” by COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the World Health Organization (WHO) told AFP there is no evidence that volcanic ash can destroy COVID-19, adding that it poses significant health hazards.

10 March 2020

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105. Indonesia refutes 'hoax' report that it gave citizens free air tickets to return home after coronavirus outbreak

Multiple Facebook posts claim the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has provided 1,000 free tickets for Indonesian nationals abroad to return home following the novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim is false; the ministry dismissed the social media posts as a “hoax”; the photos shared in the posts have circulated online before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

10 March 2020

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104. UNICEF officials refute false claim that agency released coronavirus prevention guidelines

An advisory about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook and WhatsApp alongside a claim that it was released by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The claim is false; UNICEF said that the agency did not release the information; significant parts of the message are contrary to health experts’ advice about the coronavirus. 

10 March 2020

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103. These 14 claims on COVID-19 are viral, but misleading

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim to offer expert advice on the novel coronavirus, including symptoms, prevention and how it spreads. This is misleading; experts and health agencies say there is not enough research on the virus to make these specific claims.

9 March 2020

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102. Chloroquine has not been approved as a treatment for COVID-19 (as of March 9)

A WhatsApp voice message circulating in Nigeria claims that anti-malaria drug chloroquine phosphate is a cure for COVID-19. This is misleading: while a study found the molecule showed “apparent efficacy” in treating the disease, trials are still ongoing. Experts also warned against taking the drug without prescription. British officials have opened a probe into an illegal website selling the drug, following AFP's investigation.

9 March 2020

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101. Health experts say drinking water every 15 minutes does not prevent coronavirus infection

Multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter shared hundreds of times in the Philippines claim that doctors in Japan advise people to drink water every 15 minutes in order to prevent being infected by the novel coronavirus, COVD-19. The claim is misleading; the World Health Organization (WHO) says drinking water does not prevent novel coronavirus infection; Japan has not issued a health advisory listing drinking water as a prevention method for COVID-19.

9 March 2020

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100. These notes contain multiple inaccuracies about the novel coronavirus -- the Thai doctor named as the source denied writing them

Three photos of handwritten notes about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, have been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim that they were written by a Thai doctor. The claim is misleading; the notes contain several inaccuracies about COVID-19; the Thai doctor named in the posts as the source of the notes denied writing them.

9 March 2020

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99. This report is not from a genuine news site -- the Vatican said the pope was suffering from a cold

A report has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit in February 2020 which claims the Vatican disclosed that Pope Francis had been infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is false; the Vatican said Pope Francis recently fell ill with a common cold; the site that published the misleading claim is not a reputable media organisation.

6 March 2020

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98. Israeli scientists have not developed a COVID-19 vaccine -- they were still working to develop one in February 2020

Multiple Facebook posts shared thousands of times in Sri Lanka claim that Israeli scientists have developed a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The claim is misleading; Israel’s MIGAL Research Institute said in a press release in February 2020 that it was still working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19; the image of a vial labelled "coronavirus vaccine" in the misleading Facebook posts was taken from a stock photo website.

6 March 2020

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97. No, all international arrivals were not cancelled at an airport in Karachi in February 2020

An image of a terminal display screen showing a list of flights cancelled at an airport in the Pakistani city of Karachi has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp alongside a claim that all international arrivals were halted in February 2020 during the novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim is false; Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that international arrivals were not cancelled in February 2020. The photo in the misleading posts corresponds with another image from the airport which has circulated in reports about flights being suspended at the airport in March 2019.

5 March 2020

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96. An image from The Simpsons was digitally altered to make it look like it predicted the novel coronavirus

A series of screenshots from The Simpsons have been circulating online alongside claims that the TV show predicted the novel coronavirus outbreak. The claim is false; the montage features shots from two different episodes, one of which has been digitally altered to include the words “corona virus”.

5 March 2020

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95. Coronavirus hoax spreads online after Rush Limbaugh broadcast

Conservative US radio host Rush Limbaugh compared the novel coronavirus to “a common cold," prompting debate over the virus’ lethality. This is misleading; the strain discovered in late 2019 differs from and is more deadly than the human coronaviruses that can cause a cold, health experts say.

4 March 2020

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94. US disease experts did not issue novel coronavirus-related facial hair guide

US media reports say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued facial hair recommendations for novel coronavirus prevention, citing an infographic. This is misleading; the graphic about facial hair and respirator use is more than two years old and is unrelated to the recent deadly outbreak.

4 March 2020

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93. Sri Lankan authorities say only two suspected coronavirus patients were hospitalised, and both later tested negative

Multiple Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that four patients infected with the novel coronavirus have been admitted to a hospital in Sri Lanka. The claim is misleading; local health authorities told AFP only two suspected patients were admitted, and stressed they have tested negative for COVID-19.

4 March 2020

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92. This photo has circulated in reports since 2014, after one of Iran's vice presidents was injured in a traffic accident

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and Weibo posts published in February 2020 which claim it shows Iranian senior officials visiting the country’s vice president after she contracted the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; this photo has circulated in reports since at least 2014 about one of Iran’s vice presidents, Masoumeh Ebtekar, after she was injured in a traffic accident at least five years before the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Chinese city of Wuhan; the Iranian Embassy in China also clarified the context of the photo in a post on its official Weibo account.

4 March 2020

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91. The story originated from a parody account; no driver is threatening to spread COVID-19 across Nigeria

Multiple posts shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp claim that a Nigerian taximan who picked up an Italian visitor infected with the novel coronavirus, in turn, contracted the disease and went on the run, demanding N100 million ($275,000) from the government. This is false; the story originated from a parody account and has been denied by the man pictured in the claim and government officials. The actual driver has reportedly been quarantined. 

3 March 2020

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90. Health experts refute new misleading claims about coronavirus prevention in Sri Lanka

A lengthy post promoting several precautionary measures which will purportedly protect people from the novel coronavirus has been shared tens of thousands of times by multiple Sri Lankan Facebook users. But health experts have refuted many of the claims, including one that sunlight can kill the virus, saying they are false or misleading; Sri Lankan health authorities have urged the public to refrain from sharing misleading information in order to curb the coronavirus “info-demic.”

3 March 2020

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89. The video shows a police drill in China during the novel coronavirus epidemic

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts which claim it shows a suspected coronavirus case in China being detained by officials after he failed a body temperature test and attempted to force his way through a blockade. The video has been shared in a misleading context; it shows a police drill at a toll gate in China's Henan province during the novel coronavirus epidemic.

3 March 2020

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88. ‘Coronavirus protection’ masks hawked in misleading video ad on Facebook

A video advertisement on Facebook encourages people to buy face masks to protect against the novel coronavirus. The ad is misleading; US government health authorities do not recommend the general public wear masks for that purpose, and the video uses footage of a doctor who is speaking about unrelated topics to claim medical professionals approve of the product.

3 March 2020

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87. Russia’s Ministry of Health refutes misleading online claim that it stated COVID-19 is man-made

Multiple articles and social media posts viewed tens of thousands of times claim the Russian Ministry of Health confirmed in a document that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is man-made. The claim is misleading; the Russian Ministry of Health said it did not make such a statement; the document cited in the misleading posts states COVID-19 is a “recombinant virus” which can form naturally.

2 March 2020

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86. This photo has circulated in an online fundraising page for a man with a lung condition unrelated to the novel coronavirus

A photo of a man ill in hospital has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a video of a man eating a bat in a restaurant. The posts claim the man in the image was hospitalised after eating a bat following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The photo and video have been shared in a misleading context; the photo has previously circulated in an online fundraising page for an Indonesian man hospitalised for a lung disease unrelated to the coronavirus epidemic; the video has circulated in separate reports about tourists sampling fruit bats in a restaurant on the island of Palau in Micronesia.

2 March 2020

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85. International health advisories contradict false claim that a runny nose is not a coronavirus symptom

A screenshot of a social media post claiming a runny nose and sputum secretion are not symptoms of novel coronavirus has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter. These claims are false; various health advisories on the coronavirus issued by health authorities worldwide, including those in China where the epidemic emerged, have listed both as possible symptoms of the viral disease.

2 March 2020

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84. This video shows a parade in Italy during an annual art carnival

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside claims that the footage shows a parade in France that was organised to celebrate China’s efforts to combat the deadly novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the video was in fact filmed in Italy during an annual art carnival in February 2020.

2 March 2020

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83. Health experts say there is no evidence vitamin D is effective in preventing novel coronavirus infection

Multiple Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts claim vitamin D can help reduce the risk of novel coronavirus infection. The claim is misleading; health experts told AFP there is insufficient science to definitively say vitamin D can protect from the viral epidemic.

28 February 2020

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82. This is a 2017 photo of Cambodia's Prime Minister after he was hospitalised for an unrelated health condition

A photo of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, and on Line Messenger alongside a claim he was hospitalised after contracting the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the photo was taken in 2017 when the Prime Minister was being treated for an unrelated health condition at a Singaporean hospital -- at least two years before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

28 February 2020

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81. Experts in India refute misleading claim that China-made Holi festival goods are infected with coronavirus

A claim that Chinese goods imported for the Holi festival in India should be avoided because they are infected with the novel coronavirus has been shared multiple times on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. The claim is misleading; the World Health Organization (WHO) told AFP that the virus does not last long on inanimate surfaces, so it is unlikely imported goods would remain infectious; the Toy Association of India told AFP the virus would not survive on a shipment of Holi festival items as the journey from China generally takes at least two weeks.  

27 February 2020

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80. This video shows Chinese medical scientist Zhong Nanshan visiting a hospital in 2016

A video of Zhong Nanshan, a top Chinese medical scientist, meeting with a hospital patient has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows him greeting a doctor in the Chinese city of Wuhan who soon after died of coronavirus in February 2020. The claim is false; the footage has actually been taken from a Chinese television programme that shows Zhong visiting a hospital ward in 2016.

26 February 2020

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79. This image shows a scene from the trailer for 2011 disaster movie Contagion

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Chinese-language posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim it shows a mass burial ground for “virus victims”. The posts were published after the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, spread to dozens of countries after it was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The claim is false; the image is a screenshot taken from the trailer of the 2011 movie Contagion.

26 February 2020

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78. These images have previously circulated in reports about an elderly Chinese couple who had unrelated health problems

Two images that show an elderly man and woman holding hands across parallel hospital beds have been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts which claim they are an elderly Chinese couple who were infected with the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; the images have previously circulated in reports which stated they were an elderly Chinese couple suffering from health problems unrelated to the novel coronavirus.

25 February 2020

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77. Indian health authority refutes hoax report of coronavirus case in Uttar Pradesh district

A claim that a man infected with an acute case of novel coronavirus has been admitted to a hospital in a town in Uttar Pradesh, India has been shared multiple times on Facebook and Twitter. This claim is false; the district’s health authority said there are no confirmed novel coronavirus patients in the area.

24 February 2020

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76. This video has circulated in media reports since at least October 2019 -- months before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter that claim its shows shoppers scrambling to enter a supermarket in China after the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The claim is false; the video has circulated in media reports since at least October 2019, two months before the viral outbreak was first reported.

24 February 2020

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75. The video shows an Islamic conversion in Saudi Arabia in May 2019 – months before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows Chinese people converting to Islam because the novel coronavirus epidemic does not affect Muslims. The claim is false: the video shows people converting to Islam in Saudi Arabia in May 2019, more than half year away before the novel coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

24 February 2020

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74. This video circulated online weeks before the novel coronavirus was first reported

A video has been shared on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube alongside claims that it shows scores of people from China “escaping to” Vietnam in order to avoid the deadly coronavirus, which broke out in China’s Hubei province in December 2019. The claim is false; the same footage circulated online weeks before the coronavirus outbreak.

21 February 2020

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73. Anti-malaria drug has proven effective in treating coronavirus but has not cured 12,552 patients

A report in Nigeria claims that anti-malaria drug chloroquine has cured 12,552 novel coronavirus patients. This is misleading; the China National Center for Biotechnology Development confirmed the drug has “a certain curative effect on the novel coronavirus”, but did not say it cured 12,552 patients. The drug has only been used in clinical trials with “over 100 patients”.

21 February 2020

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72. This map is a forecast based on past data, not real-time satellite readings

A map has been shared tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which claim it shows elevated sulphur dioxide levels in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the novel coronavirus epidemic. The posts, published in multiple languages, claim the high levels of the gas could be evidence of mass cremation in and around the city. The claim is false; NASA, whose data was used to create the map, told AFP the imagery was created based on forecast figures of man-made sulphur dioxide emissions and volcano gas, not real-time satellite recordings.

21 February 2020

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71. No cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Zimbabwe as of February 20, 2020

Articles shared hundreds of times on Facebook claim that Zimbabwe has confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus. The reports are misleading; no confirmed cases have been recorded as of February 20, 2020. A suspected patient was admitted to hospital but tested negative for the virus.

20 February 2020

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70. This video has circulated online since at least March 2019 – months before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A video of a rainbow forming in the wake of a truck spraying moisture over a street has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that the footage shows a truck disinfecting a street in China in an effort to contain the novel coronavirus. This claim is false; the video, which shows a truck spraying in China's Sichuan province for dust control purposes, has circulated online since at least March 2019, months before the viral outbreak.

20 February 2020

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69. This video was filmed before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A video shared hundreds of times on social media purports to show people running from a Chinese man who collapsed in Mauritania. The claim is false; the footage was shared online months before the start of the novel coronavirus epidemic.

20 February 2020

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68. Sri Lankan health experts stress there is no evidence that cannabis boosts immunity against the novel coronavirus

A YouTube video of a doctor discussing the health benefits of cannabis has been viewed thousands of times among Sri Lankan Facebook users alongside a claim that cannabis can boost a person's immunity to the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; medical experts have emphasised there is no evidence to suggest that cannabis improves immunity against the virus and have urged the public to follow official government health guidelines. 

20 February 2020

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67. Pakistan’s Ministry of Health refutes claim that novel coronavirus was found in chickens

Photos of diseased chicken have been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim the deadly novel coronavirus has been found in chickens in Pakistan. The claim is false; Pakistan’s Ministry of Health, National Institute of Health and the Pakistan Poultry Association told AFP there is “no evidence” novel coronavirus has been found in poultry. The photos are also being shared out of context as they show chickens sickened with an unrelated disease.

20 February 2020

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66. Australian officials dismiss hoax report of coronavirus exposure at doctor's surgery in New South Wales town

A claim that a doctor’s office in a New South Wales town was visited by people who had been exposed to the novel coronavirus has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook. The claim is misleading; health officials stated that the only confirmed coronavirus cases in the Australian state were in Sydney, not the regional areas.

20 February 2020

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65. The World Health Organization has said there is not yet a vaccine for the novel coronavirus

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim Israel has sent a vaccine to “cure” novel coronavirus patients in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the global outbreak. The posts claim the vaccine has "cured 479 patients so far". The claim is false; as of February 14, no vaccine for novel coronavirus has been developed – the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is “no specific medicine” to “prevent or treat” the viral infection, but is “helping to coordinate efforts to develop medicines with a range of partners”; the photos in the misleading posts also do not support the claim.

19 February 2020

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64. The Philippine Bureau of Immigration says it did not issue this 'coronavirus escapee' warning

Multiple Facebook posts have shared a purported government announcement that calls for the arrest of a Chinese national from the city of Wuhan who allegedly escaped quarantine at an airport in the Philippines after the novel coronavirus outbreak. The posts have been shared hundreds of times. The claim is false; the Philippine Bureau of Immigration denied issuing the advisory and called it “a hoax”. 

19 February 2020

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63. These photos show a private firm distributing face masks in Manila

Two photos have been shared in multiple posts on Facebook which claim the Philippine government is giving out free face masks to the public following the novel coronavirus outbreak. These photos have been used in a misleading context; they show a private firm distributing free face masks to locals in Manila’s Chinatown, and while the Philippine government did once provide masks free of charge, it has since issued a statement discouraging its use.

19 February 2020

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62. This staged car crash was filmed for a 2018 movie in China’s Heilongjiang province

A video of a car smashing into police vehicles has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Weibo alongside a claim that the incident happened at a police roadblock in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the global novel coronavirus outbreak. The claim is false; the footage shows a staged car crash in China’s Heilongjiang province that was filmed for a Chinese movie released in 2018.

19 February 2020

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 61. This video shows people sleeping rough in the Chinese city of Shenzhen

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook which claim it shows dead bodies on the streets in the Chinese city of Wuhan after the novel coronavirus outbreak. The claim is false; the video shows people sleeping rough hundreds of miles away in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese city that has implemented an entry-and-exit permit system during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

19 February 2020

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60. This map shows flight paths worldwide -- it does not show the movement of Wuhan residents

A map has been published in multiple news articles and social media posts alongside a claim it shows the forecasted global spread of novel coronavirus based on the movements of residents from the Chinese city of Wuhan. The map has been shared in a misleading context; it actually shows a route map of flight paths around the world.

18 February 2020

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59. Australian couple quarantined onboard Diamond Princess cruise reveal wine drone delivery story was 'just a prank'

Multiple news articles and social media posts published in February 2020 claimed that an Australian couple who were quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan due to the novel coronavirus outbreak had wine delivered to them by a drone. The claim is false; the couple later told an Australian radio station that their social media posts about the wine delivery were a "prank".

18 February 2020

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58. There are no known deaths or confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Nigeria as of February 18, 2020

An article shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter claims Lagos has seen nine confirmed novel coronavirus cases, including four deaths. But the claim is false; health officials told AFP there were no confirmed coronavirus deaths or cases in the country as of February 18, 2020. The story was fabricated from recent reports on a Lassa Fever outbreak in central Nigeria.

18 February 2020

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57. Thai doctors say their treatment helped a coronavirus patient recover, but it was not a 'cure'

Multiple social media posts and media reports shared hundreds of times in February 2020 claim Thailand has cured a COVID-19 patient within 48 hours using a cocktail of an anti-HIV drug and an antiviral drug used for treating influenza. The claim is misleading; Thai doctors say the cocktail of drugs did greatly improve the condition of the patient over 48 hours but did not cure them of the viral infection; the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there is “no specific medicine” to prevent or treat novel coronavirus as of February 14, 2020.

17 February 2020

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56. Indian health authorities dismiss hoax report of novel coronavirus case in east Indian state.

A post has been shared multiple times on Facebook that claims a doctor in Purnea, a district in the east Indian state of Bihar, has identified a novel coronavirus patient. This claim is false; the local health authority said that there are no confirmed novel coronavirus patients in the area as of February 14, 2020. The doctor named in the misleading Facebook post also called the claim “baseless and false."

17 February 2020

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55. This video shows tower blocks in Shanghai, not Wuhan – and the clip has been edited to include the audio

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and YouTube which claim it shows quarantined Wuhan residents greeting each other from their apartment blocks during the novel coronavirus outbreak. The claim is false; the video shows tower blocks in the Chinese city of Shanghai; the audio in the clip directly corresponds with audio from a scene in the 1988 film Coming to America.

17 February 2020

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54. The video shows an Eid prayer in China in June 2019 -- months before the coronavirus outbreak

A video has been viewed millions of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows non-Muslim Chinese people performing a Friday prayer after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in December 2019. The claim is false; the video actually shows an Eid prayer in Yiwu, a Chinese city that attracts many Muslim traders from overseas, in June 2019, several months before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

17 February 2020

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53. No confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been recorded in Ethiopia (as of February 17, 2020)

Several posts alleging the novel coronavirus has been found in Ethiopia are circulating on Facebook. However, the claims are misleading; as of February 17, 2020, there were no confirmed cases in the country, and Ethiopia’s health authorities said that 17 suspected cases all tested negative. 

17 February 2020

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52. Wuhan fire officials say this video shows an apartment fire sparked by a discarded cigarette

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows an apartment fire that erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan after concerned residents used alcohol disinfectant against the novel coronavirus. The video has been shared in a misleading context; Wuhan fire officials said the fire was sparked accidentally by a discarded cigarette and refuted the claim that alcohol disinfectant was the cause. 

14 February 2020

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51. This video shows humanitarian aid flown from Kenya to China after coronavirus outbreak

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube which claim it shows a plane in Melbourne, Australia carrying a shipment of medical supplies collected by the Chinese diaspora to be delivered to Guangzhou, China. This video has been shared in a misleading context; it actually shows a plane in Nairobi, Kenya carrying aid for Guangzhou.

14 February 2020

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50. This video shows crows in the Chinese city of Xining -- 1,000 miles from Wuhan

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube published in February 2020 alongside a claim that it shows a murder of crows in the sky over the Chinese city of Wuhan following the novel coronavirus outbreak. The video has been shared in a misleading context; it shows scores of crows in the Chinese city of Xining, more than 1,000 miles northwest of Wuhan.

13 February 2020

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49. World Health Organization says COVID-19 means ‘coronavirus disease 2019’ – not 'China outbreak virus'

Claims that COVID-19, a name the World Health Organization (WHO) created for the deadly novel coronavirus that broke out in China, stands for “China Outbreak Virus in December 19” have been viewed hundreds of times in various Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and Weibo posts. The claim is false; the WHO confirmed COVID-19 is an abbreviation of “coronavirus disease 2019” and said that geographical locations are not included when naming diseases to avoid stigmatisation.

13 February 2020

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48. This video shows a blast in Tianjin, China, in 2015 -- before the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan

A video of a large explosion has been viewed hundreds of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo posts alongside a claim that it shows a blast in January 2020 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of an ongoing novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim is false; the video shows a deadly explosion in Tianjin, a port city in northeast China, in August 2015. 

13 February 2020

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47. Novel coronavirus: misinformation circulates online about US Postal Service operations for mail bound for China and Hong Kong

Multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Weibo claim that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has stated it will no longer accept items destined for China and Hong Kong following a global novel coronavirus outbreak. The claim was repeated in several languages and by some Hong Kong media organisations. The claim is misleading; USPS told AFP on February 12 it would continue to accept items bound for China and Hong Kong but was temporarily unable to offer time guarantees on those shipments; it clarified that it will temporarily halt its transit service that ships mail from other countries to China and Hong Kong. 

12 February 2020

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46. Black people aren’t more resistant to novel coronavirus

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that a Cameroonian man living in China was cured of the novel coronavirus “because he has black skin”. Although a Cameroonian student was successfully treated for the illness, a doctor from a research centre specialised in the novel coronavirus told AFP there is “no scientific evidence” to suggest black people have a better chance of fighting the virus.

12 February 2020

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45. Philippine authorities did not issue this warning after the novel coronavirus outbreak

An image has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim the Philippines has issued an order mandating a compulsory quarantine for all travellers returning from 23 countries, in an effort to curb the growing novel coronavirus epidemic. The claim is false; the Philippines government said the image is a hoax; as of February 10, Philippine health officials said only visitors from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan would be subjected to quarantine.

12 February 2020

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44. Hoax report claims China sought Supreme Court approval to euthanise 20,000 coronavirus patients

An article claiming the Chinese government has sought Supreme Court approval to authorise the killing of more than 20,000 novel coronavirus patients in an effort to curb the growing epidemic has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. The claim is false; the article was published on a site that has regularly produced hoax reports, and China has made no such announcement.

11 February 2020

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43. Indian officials say novel coronavirus has not been found in poultry

A claim that novel coronavirus has been discovered in chicken raised for meat in Mumbai, India has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts. The claim is false; the Indian government’s Poultry Development Organization told AFP it was “absolutely wrong” and there is “no evidence” that novel coronavirus has been detected in poultry.

11 February 2020

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42. This chart is old -- it has since been updated to accurately show a much lower H1N1 fatality rate

A chart purporting to show that the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic was far more deadly than the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak has been shared in multiple social media posts. However, the claim is misleading; the posts show an early version of a virus comparison chart that has since been corrected by its publisher to accurately show a lower H1N1 fatality rate.

11 February 2020

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41. Medical doctors challenge claim that Chinese herbal remedy 'inhibits' novel coronavirus after Chinese media reports praised it

Media reports in China claimed the traditional Chinese medicine Shuang Huang Lian could be effective in “inhibiting” the novel coronavirus. A similar claim has been viewed hundreds of millions of times in multiple Weibo, WeChat and Facebook posts. The posts were shared after a global outbreak of a new strain of the novel coronavirus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. The claim in the posts is misleading; medical doctors said the medicine has not been tested in clinical trials to prove its efficacy against the novel coronavirus; as of February 2020, the World Health Organisation has said there is no medicine to “prevent or treat the virus".

10 February 2020

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40. This photo was published online in 2018, two years before the deadly coronavirus outbreak

A screenshot of a Facebook post that claims Hong Kong police are misappropriating face masks for personal use and that includes a photo of face masks has been shared thousands of times in dozens of posts on Facebook and Twitter. However, the photo is being used misleading context; it has circulated online since at least 2018, two years before the deadly coronavirus outbreak began. Police also denied that officers were misusing masks.

10 February 2020

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39. Thai health experts say there is no evidence the 'green chiretta' herb can prevent the novel coronavirus

An article published by a Thai media site claims that a herb cultivated in southeast Asia, andrographis paniculata or “green chiretta”, can prevent and relieve symptoms of the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; Thai health experts said there is no scientific evidence that the herb can boost immunity or relieve the symptoms of the novel coronavirus. 

10 February 2020

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38. This photo was circulated as a hoax -- the New South Wales health authority said it is unrelated to the novel coronavirus in Australia

An image has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook posts published in January 2020 which claim it shows a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in a suburb of Sydney, Australia. The claim is false; in response to the photo, the New South Wales health authority told AFP on February 6, 2020 there had been no confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in the cited suburb.

10 February 2020

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37. Lysol product labels are not evidence of a novel coronavirus conspiracy

Social media users claim that because Lysol products are labeled as being effective against “human coronavirus,” the novel coronavirus first reported in China’s Wuhan is not new. This is misleading; they are a family of viruses, and Lysol’s manufacturer said it has not tested its products against the new strain.

8 February 2020

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36. This viral video shows a high-school initiation in South Africa

A video shared thousands of times in several languages purports to show coronavirus patients in China. The claim is false; the people in the footage are South African students taking part in a high-school initiation. 

7 February 2020

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35. Thai Department of Health denies authorising face mask infographic after novel coronavirus outbreak

An infographic describing different types of sanitary face masks and their effectiveness against germs and air pollutants has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. The graphic claims that the Thai Department of Health is its source of information. The claim is false; the Department of Health told AFP that the image was created and distributed without its consent.

7 February 2020

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34. This video shows workmen uncovering a bat-infested roof in the US state of Florida in 2011

A video showing scores of bats nesting under tiles of a roof has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook that it shows the cause of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China. The claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least July 2011 and actually shows repairs being made to the roof of a bat-infested house in the city of Miami in the United States.

7 February 2020

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33. This video shows Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting a mosque in China in 2016

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, shared alongside a claim that it shows China’s leader praying at a mosque following the novel coronavirus outbreak.  This claim is false; this video has circulated since at least 2016 in media reports about Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to a mosque in northwest China.

7 February 2020

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32. Dettol’s manufacturer denied it tested its products on the novel strain of coronavirus

An image of a Dettol label that touts the disinfectant's ability to kill the "coronavirus" has been shared tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim that the product’s maker may have been aware of the novel coronavirus before it broke out in China in December 2019. The claim is misleading; the cleaning product’s reference to “coronavirus” denotes its effectiveness in protecting people from a general group of viruses, including the common cold; Dettol’s manufacturer said it has not tested its products against the novel coronavirus.

6 February 2020

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31. This photo shows the Egyptian doctor who discovered MERS coronavirus but he did not invent a vaccine

A photo of an Egyptian doctor has been published in a news report that states he invented a coronavirus vaccine. The report was published after a new strain of coronavirus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan, infecting more than 28,000 people as of early February 2020. The claim in the report is misleading; Dr Ali Mohamed Zaki of Egypt identified a new strain of coronavirus that caused Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and he did not invent a vaccine for it. 

6 February 2020

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30. The Indian Health Ministry said it did not issue this 'emergency warning' via text message

A lengthy text post has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp alongside a claim that it is an official message issued by India's Ministry of Health after the oubreak of a new strain of novel coronavirus in India. The claim is false; the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau said it did not issue the purported emergency warning message.

6 February 2020

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29. This photo was taken during Li Keqiang’s visit to quake-stricken Sichuan in 2013

A photo of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang eating in a tent has been viewed thousands of times on Weibo, WeChat and Twitter in February 2020 alongside a claim that it shows him dining in the central Chinese city of Wuhan during the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. The claim is false; the photo was taken during Li’s visit to Sichuan following a deadly earthquake in 2013.

6 February 2020

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28. False novel coronavirus warnings circulating in Alberta

Canadian Facebook posts claim the novel coronavirus has reached the western province of Alberta, with confirmed cases in Edmonton and Calgary. This is false; provincial health officials said there are no confirmed cases within their jurisdiction.

5 February 2020

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27. Philippine health experts dismiss misleading online claim that tinospora crispa plants can treat novel coronavirus

A video has been viewed more than one million times in multiple posts on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter alongside a claim that the sap of tinospora crispa plants can serve as an “antibiotic” against the novel coronavirus when used as an eye drop. The claim is misleading; Philippine health experts told AFP that the plant sap could not be used to treat viruses, including the novel coronavirus, and warned against inserting it into the eyes; the World Health Organisation also warns that antibiotics cannot be used to treat viruses.

5 February 2020

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26. This video shows a former Malaysian prime minister praying in a Beijing mosque in 2004

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts published in 2020 with a claim that it shows the "Chinese prime minister" praying inside a mosque after the outbreak of a new strain of novel coronavirus in China. The claim is false; the video actually shows Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Malaysian Prime Minister at that time, attending a Friday prayer at a Beijing mosque when he visited China in 2004.

5 February 2020

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25. Indian health experts say there is no evidence of link between novel coronavirus transmission and specific food items

A video showing larva being removed from a patient's lip has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook, Twitter and YouTube posts alongside a claim that the novel coronavirus can be spread through “a worm” found in certain food and drinks. The video has been shared in a misleading context; it has circulated in reports since at least October 2019 about a parasite being removed from a person's lip, more than two months before the new strain of novel coronavirus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Indian health officials have said there is no evidence that specific food items can cause transmission of the novel coronavirus.

5 February 2020

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24. Health experts refute false claims that drinking boiled garlic water cures novel coronavirus

Claims that the novel coronavirus can be cured overnight if sufferers drink freshly boiled garlic water have been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The posts were shared after a new strain of novel coronavirus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan and subsequently spread to more than 20 other countries. The claim is false; medical experts told AFP there was no evidence to support the theory about drinking garlic water; international health organisations do not recommend the remedy and have said there is no specific antiviral treatment for the new strain of the novel coronavirus.

5 February 2020

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23. Health authorities did not say drinking water will prevent coronavirus

Facebook posts shared thousands of times in various countries claim that drinking water can prevent coronavirus. Many posts present the information as “health bulletins” from the officials in Canada or the Philippines. However, authorities have issued no such advice.

4 February 2020

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22. Not only is the source of the virus unknown, but the dead cells inside rhino horn also are incapable of keeping it alive

Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook claim the novel coronavirus comes from the use of rhino horn. The claim is false because not only is the source of the crisis in China still unknown, but the dead tissue that rhino horn consists of also cannot sustain a virus, which needs living cells to replicate.

4 February 2020

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21. Sri Lankan health experts refute misleading online claim that country has eradicated novel coronavirus

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook that claim Sri Lanka has become the world’s first country to completely eradicate the novel coronavirus, after its one confirmed coronavirus patient made a full recovery. The claim is misleading; Sri Lankan health experts say the patient's recovery is insufficient evidence that the country has eradicated the virus, as the “possibility for other infected patients” remains; they also urged the public to continue following government recommendations for prevention.

4 February 2020

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20. This photo has circulated in reports about a Japanese medical team travelling to China in 2008

A photo of healthcare personnel has been shared thousands of times in multiple social media posts alongside claims that the photo shows a team of one thousand Japanese medical professionals going to provide aid in Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak in China. This claim is false; the photo in fact shows a Japanese medical team traveling to Chengdu, China following an earthquake in 2008. The Japanese embassy in Manila also told AFP that reports of a Japanese medical team being sent to Wuhan are "not true."

4 February 2020

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19. Novel coronavirus: health experts warn against steaming face masks for reuse after misinformation on Chinese social media

A video of a purported doctor advising people to steam disposable surgical face masks in order to reuse them has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple Chinese-language posts on Facebook, Weibo and Youku in January 2020. The posts were shared as China announced more than 20,000 people have been infected with a new strain of novel coronavirus, killing at least 425 people. The claim in the posts is misleading; health experts advise against steaming surgical masks, as it can damage them; they also warn against reusing masks as harmful bacteria and viruses can remain on their surface.

4 February 2020

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18. Chinese authorities have not recorded 300,000 confirmed novel coronavirus cases; there is no precise figure available for overall infections (as of February 4, 2020)

A story that has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook in Nigeria claims that more than 300,000 Chinese people have been infected with the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading: Chinese health authorities have recorded just over 20,400 confirmed cases as of February 4, 2020, and experts say that there is currently no precise figure available for overall infections. 

4 February 2020

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17. This video was made by a student for a college project -- it does not show a trained doctor

A video purporting to show a doctor comparing blood samples taken from a person infected with the new strain of coronavirus to that of a healthy person has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times online.  This claim is false; the video creator told AFP that he is not a doctor but a college student who made the video for a project on how videos go viral on the internet.

4 February 2020

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16. Health experts in Sri Lanka refute claims of herbal cure for novel coronavirus

In the days following Sri Lanka's first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, an article was shared hundreds of times on Facebook claiming that asafoetida, a plant often used in traditional Indian medicine, can prevent all coronavirus infection. This claim is misleading; health experts in Sri Lanka say there is no evidence asafoetida or other herbal medicine can definitively protect people from infection.

3 February 2020

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15. Australian health officials dismiss hoax report about new novel coronavirus case outside Sydney

A purported screenshot of a local Australian media report which states an 18-year-old man living just outside Sydney has tested positive for the novel coronavirus has been shared more than one hundred times in multiple posts on Facebook. The claim is false; the local media organisation, 7News, said it did not publish the purported report; the New South Wales health authority said the report was a hoax.

3 February 2020

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14. This is a 2014 photo of people participating in an art project in Frankfurt, Germany

A photo of people lying down on the ground has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it shows people who died from the new coronavirus in China. The claim is false; the image shows people participating in an art project in 2014 to remember the victims of the Nazi's Katzbach concentration camp in Frankfurt. 

3 February 2020

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13. Chinese ‘spies’ did not steal deadly coronavirus from Canada

Websites and social media users claim that the new coronavirus discovered in the city of Wuhan may have been created in Canada and stolen by Chinese spies. This is false; Canadian health and federal police officials say it has no factual basis.

31 January 2020

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12. Novel coronavirus: Pakistani officials deny they issued warning over dangers of eating goat meat

An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook claiming Punjab province in Pakistan issued a warning against eating goat meat for 60 days following a coronavirus outbreak in the livestock. The claim is false; the Punjab Food Authority issued a statement denying such warnings had been issued, and a spokesperson at the Pakistan’s National Institute of Health told AFP there was no evidence that the novel coronavirus was spreading among livestock in the country. 

31 January 2020

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11. Singapore denies it closed a subway station after novel coronavirus discovery

A Facebook post claims Singapore closed a subway station in January 2020 after discovering a case of novel coronavirus. The claim is false; Singapore’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport denied that any part of its mass rapid transit (MRT) network had been shut down for disinfection.

31 January 2020

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10. Novel coronavirus: Australia refutes claims that a travel warning was issued for Queensland suburbs

A purported screenshot of a warning from health authorities in the Australian state of Queensland for the novel coronavirus has circulated on Facebook alongside a claim that the government issued an advisory against travel to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic erupted, and several Queensland suburbs with a large Chinese population. The claim is false; this is a doctored image; Queensland Health told AFP there had been no relevant warning issued against specific suburbs as of January 29, 2020. 

31 January 2020

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9. Novel coronavirus: Australian authorities refute hoax about 'contaminated' foods and locations

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times purport to show a list of foods and locations in Sydney, Australia which have been contaminated by a new strain of coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The claim is false; the local Australian health authority told AFP the locations listed pose no risk to visitors, and the foods named do not appear in the New South Wales food authority’s list of recalls and advisories.

31 January 2020

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8. Philippine health chief dismisses 'ridiculous' hoax that novel coronavirus is a type of rabies

Multiple misleading Facebook posts shared thousands of times in the Philippines claim the novel coronavirus strain is “a type of rabies”. The Philippine Health Secretary refuted the claim as “close to ridiculous”; experts say the viruses are innately different.

30 January 2020

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7. Sri Lankan authorities say this man suffered from a condition unrelated to novel coronavirus

Two videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook and YouTube posts that claim they show a man who collapsed in Sri Lanka after becoming infected with the novel coronavirus. The video has been shared in a misleading context; the Sri Lankan government said the man in the video was suffering from a medical condition unrelated to the novel coronavirus; the office building where the man collapsed also issued a statement clarifying that he had been suffering from "fatigue".

30 January 2020

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6. China coronavirus: health experts refute misinformation about how to wear face masks

Misinformation about the correct way to wear disposable face masks has spread on Facebook and WhatsApp following the global outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus. The posts were shared hundreds of times by Facebook users based in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

29 January 2020

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5. This photo is a stock image of a building that has circulated online since at least January 2019

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook alongside a claim that it shows a hospital in Wuhan, China that was constructed in just 16 hours following the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus. The photo has been shared in a misleading context; it is a stock image of the hospital that has circulated online since at least January 2019; AFP visited the construction site of a new hospital in Wuhan on January 27, 2020 and found it was still in the very early stages of development.

29 January 2020

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4. Doctors have not projected 11 million people quarantined in Wuhan, China, will die from coronavirus

A Facebook post shared thousands of times among Sri Lankan Facebook users claims doctors have expressed fears that the entire population of the Chinese city of Wuhan will die following the global outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The claim is false; Chinese authorities have not projected that 11 million people quarantined in Wuhan in January 2020 will die; the US Centres of Disease Control and Prevention has stated there is no vaccine for human coronavirus but most people will recover on their own.

28 January 2020

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3. No, this video shows a market selling wild animals in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook that claim it shows a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where a new coronavirus strain emerged. The claim is false; the video shows a market in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island.

27 January 2020

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2. The coronavirus plaguing China was not created by a US government agency

Facebook posts claim that the coronavirus spreading in China was created by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2015, offering a real patent as proof. This is false; the CDC did register a patent, but in an effort to combat a different strain than the one that caused the outbreak that started in the city of Wuhan.

24 January 2020

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1. Saline solution kills China coronavirus? Experts refute online rumor

Multiple posts on Weibo, Twitter and Facebook shared in January 2020 claim that a top Chinese respiratory expert has told people to rinse their mouths with salt water solution to prevent infection from a new virus outbreak. The posts were published after a new coronavirus strain was discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, infecting hundreds of people. The claim is false; the expert's team said saline would not "kill" the new virus and urged people not to believe or share medically-inaccurate online rumours; the World Health Organization told AFP there was no evidence that saline solution would protect against infection from the new coronavirus.

24 January 2020

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