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

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

Rumors, myths and misinformation about Covid-19 have spread as quickly as the disease itself. AFP Factcheck has been debunking disinformation as it emerges along with new cases across the world.                          

Here is a list of our 691 fact-checks in English so far, starting with the most recent:                    

 

(AFP Graphics)

 

691. The UAE’s temporary suspension of visas for Pakistanis is due to Covid-19, Pakistan says

Multiple TikTok and YouTube videos viewed thousands of times claim the United Arab Emirates stopped issuing visas for Pakistanis and other nationals of Muslim countries because of their continued refusal to recognise the state of Israel. The claim, however, is misleading; the UAE’s suspension of visitor visas from 12 countries, including Pakistan, in mid-November 2020 was because of their high rates of Covid-19, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister.

25 November 2020

More here.

690. Photo of Biden at a party is pre-pandemic

Online users accused president-elect Joe Biden of hypocrisy after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted a video of them unmasked at an indoor party for his birthday. This is misleading; the video was shot at Biden’s birthday in 2019, before the pandemic. The former vice-president is known to always wear a mask in public, and for urging the country to mask-up.

24 November 2020

More here.

689. Hoax circulates online that Afghanistan announced $30 million Covid-19 aid package for Pakistan

An image of a purported news report by a Pakistani broadcaster has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter in November 2020 alongside a claim that Afghanistan announced a $30 million aid package for Pakistan to support the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. The claim is false; the Pakistani broadcaster whose logo was shown in the posts told AFP it had not aired the purported segment; the Pakistani government also said the claim was “fake news”.

24 November 2020

More here.

688. This video has circulated in reports since 2018 about a crowded railway station in West Bengal

A video that shows a huge crowd on a railway station platform has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter that claim the scene was filmed in the Indian city of Kolkata in November 2020. The posts claim train passengers breached social distancing guidelines following the resumption of local railway services. The claim is false; the video has circulated online since September 2018 in reports about police exam candidates at a train station in the northeastern Indian state of West Bengal.

23 November 2020

More here.

687. Scientists warn against over-the-counter coronavirus ‘cures’

As vaccine trials show promising results that could eventually suppress coronavirus infections across the globe, social media posts are claiming that over-the-counter products such as vitamins and tonic water are the key to tackling the pandemic. The touting of unproven “cures” has been a feature since the start of the coronavirus crisis, but nothing has changed over time regarding their effectiveness and scientists stress none of the mentioned products have been effective in treating Covid-19.

20 November 2020

More here.

686. Claims of pandemic spike in suicides are not backed by data

Posts spread by celebrities and liked about 250,000 times on Instagram claim suicides have risen 200 percent since pandemic-linked lockdowns in America began. This is false; there is no data to support such a statement, the timing of which coincides with new restrictions against record coronavirus cases as the US enters winter.

20 November 2020

More here.

685. Scam alert: Africa’s richest man is not running a Facebook giveaway for youths affected by Covid-19

Widely-shared posts on Facebook claim that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is giving away money, food and other assistance to 10,000 youths who have lost loved ones to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is misleading; the Nigerian billionaire has committed hundreds of millions of naira to help Nigerians recover from the health and economic effects of Covid-19, but he is not running a giveaway on Facebook.

18 November 2020

More here.

684. Report falsely claims that US health protection agency ‘admits’ Covid-19 does not exist

A photo of an article reporting that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “admits there is no Covid-19” has been shared in multiple Facebook posts. The report cites an agency document which explains how a virus test works as its source. The claim is false: a US pathology expert said the CDC document was misinterpreted, stating that “there is no question” Covid-19 exists. 

17 November 2020

More here.

683. Pfizer’s role in Operation Warp Speed misconstrued online

News of promising results from a coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer sparked misinformation about the company’s role in the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed, an effort to deliver a Covid-19 shot nationwide. While Pfizer benefited from the government's vaccine fund, this was to supply and distribute the vaccine, not to develop it.

14 November 2020

More here.

682. This photo shows a mother who tested positive for Covid-19 in Myanmar, according to photographer

A photo that shows a health worker carrying a baby while a tearful woman looks on has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that suggest it shows the separation of a mother from her baby in Sri Lanka. The claim, however, is misleading; the photo in fact shows a mother in Myanmar who tested postive for Covid-19, according to the photographer and a local health worker.

13 November 2020

More here.

681. This photo has circulated online in Facebook posts about Sri Lanka since March 2020

An image of two lorries transporting coffins has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows preparations for Sri Lanka’s second wave of coronavirus cases in November 2020. The claim is misleading; the photo has been circulating online since at least March 2020. 

13 November 2020

More here.

680. This video has circulated in reports about a woman arrested for allegedly assaulting a stranger in Singapore

A video that shows police detaining a woman on a street has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online forums alongside a claim she was arrested for not wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic in Singapore. The video, however, has been shared in a misleading context; it has circulated online in reports since October 2020 about a woman who was arrested for allegedly assaulting a stranger in Singapore. 

13 November 2020

More here.

679. Misleading claim circulates in Burmese about WHO ‘designating’ Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine as official inoculation

A Burmese-language blog post, which has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, claims that the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the Russian Covid-19 vaccine as the official inoculation against the coronavirus. The claim is misleading: the WHO has not designated any Covid-19 vaccine.

11 November 2020

More here.

678. Mystery Covid-19 test result rumor fuels claims Canada figures inflated

A Facebook post describing a person in Canada who was allegedly diagnosed with Covid-19 after cancelling a swab appointment is circulating online amid claims that the number of infections is inflated. The Alberta government said any such situation, if they occur, should be reported to the province for investigation, and an expert said the government is likely undercounting Covid-19 cases.

6 November 2020

More here.

677. This video shows a scene from a Mexican television drama that aired in 2010

A video of a couple together in hospital has been shared in multiple Facebook, YouTube and TikTok posts alongside a claim that the individuals are Italian Covid-19 victims. This is false; the video in fact shows a scene from a Mexican television drama that aired in 2010.

5 November 2020

More here.

676. This photo was taken as part of a themed photoshoot in India

A photo purporting to show exhausted health workers in full personal protective equipment has been shared multiple times on Facebook alongside a claim it shows overworked frontline workers in Sri Lanka “at this point in time”. However, the claim is false; the photo was actually taken in the southern Indian state of Kerala as part of a themed photoshoot.

5 November 2020

More here.

675. WHO head did not say he tested positive for Covid-19, only that he was quarantining after a contact tested positive

Reports in Nigerian media claiming that the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general said he had tested positive for Covid-19 were shared in multiple social media posts in the country. However, it is not what Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus actually said, as the article itself goes on to explain: He tweeted that he was identified as a contact person of someone who had tested positive -- not that he had tested positive himself. The WHO also refuted the claim. 

2 November 2020

More here.

674. Facebook posts make misleading claim that 220,000 coronavirus fatalities in US were caused by other medical conditions

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that 220,000 people who were recorded as dying from Covid-19 actually died from other medical conditions. The CDC data referenced in the posts has been presented in a misleading context; the data shows medical conditions that may have contributed to the deaths of people infected with Covid-19, as well as co-morbidities such as pneumonia that were caused by Covid-19.

29 October 2020

More here.

673. Flu and Covid-19 tracked separately in Canada

Facebook and Instagram posts in Canada are sharing a chart showing only six reported cases of the flu for this season alongside claims that the government is falsely passing off flu cases as Covid-19. The claims are false; influenza and Covid-19 are tested, tracked and reported separately by the provinces and territories, and public health measures against the novel coronavirus have also contributed to fewer flu cases than usual.

28 October 2020

More here.

672. Experts say wearing face masks does not cause neurological damage

Posts based on a video by a German neurologist have been shared thousands of times on Facebook making several claims about the alleged dangers of wearing face masks, notably that rebreathing oxygen in the mask leads to neurological damage. According to experts, this is false, since these masks allow fresh air to pass through and oxygen to be inhaled.

26 October 2020

More here.

671. Hoax circulates online that Sri Lankan opposition party offered quarantine facilities in coronavirus hotspots

Multiple Facebook posts shared repeatedly in October 2020 claim that a Sri Lankan opposition party offered quarantine facilities and financial support for those infected with the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; on October 20, 2020, a spokesperson for the party told AFP it had made no such announcement.

26 October 2020

More here.

670. Bacterial pneumonia, a complication of influenza, not linked to mask wearing

A claim posted on Twitter says that most deaths in the 1918 influenza pandemic originated from bacterial pneumonia caused by face masks and that Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top expert in the fight against Covid-19, knew about it. This is false; the 2008 study referred to in the tweet, and which Fauci co-authored, aimed to help plan for future pandemics and made no link to mask-wearing.

23 October 2020

More here.

669. False claim circulates online that British research company Ipsos MORI derives its name from Latin for ‘they die’

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared hundreds of times claim that Ipsos MORI, a British market research company investigating novel coronavirus testing in the UK, derives its name from a Latin phrase that translates as "they die". The posts suggest the translation reveals the company’s “motives” during the pandemic. The claim is false: the company’s name derives from two other companies which merged in 2005, 15 years before the pandemic was declared.

22 October 2020

More here.

668. This satirical video was made in 2020 using old black and white movie clips

A video supposedly made in 1956 that warns of a deadly virus that will spread from “somewhere in Asia to the rest of the world” by “the year 2020” has been shared on Facebook thousands of times alongside a claim it accurately predicted the Covid-19 pandemic. The claim is false; the video creator told AFP it was made in 2020 for satire, in response to Covid-19 misinformation.  

22 October 2020

More here.

667. ‘Leak’ of Canada lockdown plans is fake

An alleged leak from a Liberal Party of Canada member about a government coronavirus “road map,” including restriction of movement and military deployment, has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. The posts are false; the Liberal Party confirmed that the “Strategic Committee” referenced in the posts does not exist, and an expert on disinformation cautioned that this kind of information should be met with skepticism.

22 October 2020

More here.

666. Facebook posts promote false conspiracy that coronavirus testing patent was submitted in 2015

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim that a person named Richard A. Rothschild filed a patent for novel coronavirus tests in 2015. The claim is false; the image shows a supplemental application that was filed in 2020 following the submission of another patent application in 2015 that was not related to the coronavirus; a spokesperson for the financial services firm Rothschild & Co. said the patent’s applicant had no link to the company.

21 October 2020

More here.

665. Misleading claim circulates online that suspected coronavirus patients fled bus after road accident in Sri Lanka

A photo has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook posts and in an online article alongside a claim it shows suspected coronavirus patients fleeing a quarantine centre-bound bus after a road accident in Sri Lanka. The claim, however, is misleading; law enforcement and health officials said no one left the vehicle after the accident on October 9, 2020 and all passengers were transported to the quarantine centre.

20 October 2020

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664. Misleading description of Canada’s quarantine sites feeds Covid-19 conspiracy

After an Ontario politician condemned the Canadian federal government’s Covid-19 quarantine sites as “internment camps,” social media posts suggested that these sites would eventually be used to jail Canadians. This is false; the sites are facilities rented by the federal government for travellers who have no alternative for mandatory quarantine, Health Canada told AFP.

16 October 2020

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663. New hoax shared in Sri Lanka suggests WHO approved water, salt and vinegar remedy for coronavirus

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Instagram and Facebook in Sri Lanka claim that drinking lots of water or gargling warm water mixed with salt and vinegar can prevent novel coronavirus infection. The claim was shared alongside an image that shows a World Health Organization (WHO) logo. The claim is false; no international health body, including the WHO, has issued such guidance about Covid-19. 

15 October 2020

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662. WHO did not say Bill Gates adds sterilisation formula to vaccines

Multiple social media posts make a string of false and unsubstantiated claims about vaccine campaigns funded by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, including that he has been adding a 'sterilization formula' to vaccines for the past decade. AFP Fact Check debunks the main claims making the rounds.

14 October 2020

More here.

661. Doctored photo telling Africans to avoid Covid-19 vaccine circulates online

A photo showing a doctor holding up a sign has been making rounds on social networks with claims he is urging Africans to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine. This is false; the image was doctored and the original photo shows a medic holding a sign asking people to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. There is currently no Covid-19 vaccine.

12 October 2020

More here.

660. Misleading claim circulates online about infection fatality ratio of Covid-19 in the US

Multiple Facebook and Instagram posts have shared a screenshot of a Fox News graphic that purports to show infection fatality ratios in the United States for the novel coronavirus, based on various age groups. The graphic was shared alongside a claim that there was "never a pandemic". The graphic, however, is not accurate and has been shared in a misleading context; Fox News said the figures were “shown in error” on air as percentages rather than ratios; a health metrics expert said the values aired by Fox News are not accurate.

8 October 2020

More here.

659. Patients are not getting coronavirus from the flu shot

Instagram posts claim that the influenza vaccine will give patients the coronavirus. This is false; the chart provided as evidence is from a study which did not find that the flu shot is spreading the deadly virus, and Immunize Canada and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said larger, multiseason studies found no evidence that the vaccine increases coronavirus risk.

8 October 2020

More here.

658. Misinformation targets New Jersey flu vaccine mandate plan

Instagram posts opposing a proposed New Jersey law to mandate the influenza vaccine for students claim that the immunization raises one’s risk of coronavirus infection. Large studies in the US and Canada found no evidence that flu shots increase the odds of contracting a coronavirus, and public health agencies recommend the inoculation to help prevent serious illness, as well as to avoid additional burdens on health care systems during the Covid-19 pandemic.

7 October 2020

More here.

657. Image of 'bacteria growth from face mask' is misleading, microbiologists say

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook and Instagram posts that claim it shows bacteria growth that was collected from a face mask after a person wore it for just 20 minutes. The claim is misleading; microbiologists told AFP that the growth seen in the petri dish had likely "been incubating for a long time" and shows other microbes, not just bacteria from a face mask.

6 October 2020

More here.

656. Video of South African bikers falsely shared as footage of prayer for Trump’s health

A video showing hundreds of bikers, apparently gathered in prayer for Donald Trump, was shared tens of thousands of times on social media -- including by a campaign staffer -- after the US president was hospitalized for Covid-19. This is false; the footage was taken in South Africa, not the United States, more than a month earlier, and the bikers were protesting farm murders.

6 October 2020

More here.

655. False claim circulates on Facebook in Myanmar that chewing betel quid can prevent Covid-19 infection

Multiple Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times claim that chewing betel quids can prevent infection from the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19. The claim is false, health experts say; representatives for Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sport and the European Food Safety Authority both separately told AFP that the claim was not true.

2 October 2020

More here.

654. Alberta’s health laws used to make misleading claims about mandatory vaccination during Covid-19 pandemic

Posts shared more than 10,000 times in Canada have claimed that recent changes to Alberta's health statutes will bring in forced medical isolation and vaccination. This is misleading; giving power to medical officers to prevent the spread of communicable diseases is not new, according to a legal expert, and Alberta’s premier, health minister and chief medical officer do not support mandatory vaccination.

1 October 2020

More here.

653. CDC did not give contradictory advice on mask use for smoke, Covid-19

Social media posts claim the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contradicted itself by advising people to wear cloth masks against the novel coronavirus while also saying masks do not stop smoke inhalation during a wildfire. These claims are misleading; the agency explained that a mask is recommended to contain respiratory droplets, which are larger than smoke particles.  

30 September 2020

More here.

652. These drugs are COVID-19 treatments, not vaccines, and they are available in Western countries

Photos of alleged Covid-19 “vaccines” are being shared on social media with claims that the drugs are not for sale in the US, Canada, and the European Union because they are unsafe and still undergoing testing in developing countries. This is false: these products are not vaccines. They are generic forms of remdesivir, an anti-viral drug recommended for the treatment of Covid-19 and which is sold under a different name in developed markets.

30 September 2020

More here.

651. This video shows a Shiite leader in Iran marking the holy day of Ashura during the Covid-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim it shows Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, a top Shiite leader in Iraq, meeting with a crowd of worshippers on an Islamic holiday despite the risk of coronavirus infection. The claim, however, is false; the footage actually shows Grand Ayatollah Sayid Sadiq Shirazi, a Shiite leader in Iran, observing the Islamic holiday of Ashura in August 2020.

28 September 2020

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650. Poster shared in South Africa makes false claims about face masks

A poster that makes multiple claims about the use and legality of face masks during the novel coronavirus pandemic has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook in South Africa. It comes after a high court ruled in June that the country’s lockdown laws were unconstitutional. But the regulations remain in place and masks are still mandatory in public pending the outcome of the government’s appeal, experts say. The poster also makes a series of other claims previously debunked by AFP Fact Check.

25 September 2020

More here.

649. Seasonal flu vaccines are safe, needed during Covid-19 pandemic

Instagram posts and a video shared on Facebook claim that the influenza vaccine Fluzone is more deadly than Covid-19. This is false; the posts have misinterpreted data on the immunization, and the Public Health Agency of Canada said flu vaccines are a safe, important means of preventing illness and avoiding additional burdens being placed on the health care system during the coronavirus pandemic.

25 September 2020

More here.

648. This video shows the filming of a music video in Moscow

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows 200 bodies of dead novel coronavirus victims being lowered into a garbage truck in Russia. The claim is false; the clip shows the filming of a rap music video in the Russian capital of Moscow.

23 September 2020

More here. 

647. Australian state leader misquoted in misleading Facebook posts which shared satirical article as fact

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows a genuine quote from Australian politician Daniel Andrews, the current Premier in the state of Victoria. The claim is misleading; the purported quote originated in a satirical article published on September 15, 2020; in response to the misleading posts on September 21, the Victorian government separately denied Andrews made the purported remarks.

22 September 2020

More here.

646. AFP photo of Indian migrant workers leaving Delhi falsely circulated as 'Myanmar people fleeing to Thailand after coronavirus outbreak'

Five photos have been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim they show people fleeing Myanmar and crossing the border to Thailand because of the coronavirus. The claim is false: two of the images -- one of which was taken by AFP -- actually show Indian migrant workers leaving Delhi during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in March 2020. Other photos used in the misleading post have circulated in Thai media reports about border control measures.

22 September 2020

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645. False claim circulates online that Australian TV network predicted coronavirus cases in state of Victoria

An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Instagram posts that claim it shows Australian television network 7 News accurately predicted coronavirus case numbers for the state of Victoria on Sunday, September 13. The claim is false; the image has been taken from a 7 News report which was later updated to correct a typographical error; the official Covid-19 case number released by the state government for September 13 did not correspond with the purported case number in the misleading posts.

21 September 2020

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644. New Zealand doctor makes misleading claims about the country’s PCR testing regime in widely shared YouTube video

A video showing a New Zealand-based doctor claiming the PCR testing method for the novel coronavirus does not “actually test for the virus” and is being used inappropriately has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook. The claims are misleading; multiple experts told AFP the PCR test being used in New Zealand tests for specific RNA sequences unique to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it is not being used inappropriately by medical staff. 

18 September 2020

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643. Medical experts say having a dry throat 'does not increase the risk' of infection

Multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Line messaging app claim that having a dry throat will cause germs to enter one’s body. The claim is false; the Thai Public Health Ministry denies it has ever issued such advice; medical experts say dry throat does not increase the risk of infection. 

17 September 2020

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642. Conspiracy theorist ‘hoax pandemic’ video goes viral despite Facebook ban

As social media platforms fight to curb a wave of online conspiracy theories, a video by far-right broadcaster Alex Jones claiming the coronavirus outbreak is a “hoax” has been viewed more than one million times in recent months. AFP Fact Check debunks the viral video.

16 September 2020

More here. 

641. The original image from Australia’s Liberal MP Karen Andrews has been doctored to include a yellow star

A purported screenshot of a Facebook post from Australia’s Liberal MP Karen Andrews has been shared in multiple Facebook posts claiming Andrews drew a comparison between people who are against the proposed Covid-19 vaccine and Jewish people during the Holocaust. The claim is false; the original image posted by Karen Andrews has been doctored to include the Jewish badge, a form of identification for Jewish people during the Nazi era. 

15 September 2020

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640. Hoax circulates online that Switzerland has ‘officially confirmed’ coronavirus tests are ‘fake’

A claim that the Swiss authorities have “officially confirmed” that the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test used to diagnose novel coronavirus is “fake” has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook. The posts cite the Swiss public health authority Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and Swissmedic, the national supervisory body for medical products, as the source. The claim, however, is false; the posts have taken excerpts of the Swissmedic report out of context; the actual report gives weight to the efficacy of the PCR tests in detecting novel coronavirus.

11 September 2020

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639. International health experts refute claim that coronavirus death rate is lower than that of the flu

A claim that the death rate from the novel coronavirus disease, Covid-19, is lower than that of the flu has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts. The claim is false; available evidence from multiple expert sources show the Covid-19 death rate is higher than the flu’s death rate.

10 September 2020

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638. Countries were not buying Covid-19 test kits in 2018

Facebook posts feature images of tables from a World Bank-linked website alongside the claim that they prove countries were purchasing Covid-19 test kits in 2018. The claim is false; the tables actually list the imports and exports of medical devices that existed in 2018 and which were classified as “Covid-19 products” in April 2020 because of their use fighting the pandemic, according to the World Bank.

10 September 2020.   

More here.

637. Kentucky governor did not attend state’s 2020 Derby

Facebook posts claim Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear attended the 2020 edition of the state’s famous horse race, and didn’t wear a mask for protection during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is false; the 2020 Kentucky Derby took place without spectators except for necessary staff, and the photo illustrating the claims dates from 2017. 

10 September 2020

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636. Experts dismiss claim that holding your breath helps test for COVID-19

A video purporting to be from an Indian hospital alleges you can find out if you have COVID-19 by simply holding your breath. But the claim is false; the WHO and a pulmonologist told AFP Fact Check that the technique cannot diagnose the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The Indian hospital mentioned in the post has also denied any link to the video.

7 September 2020

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635. Saudi medical staff celebrate the closure of the hospital’s isolation rooms

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim that it shows Russian healthcare workers celebrating a new vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the video shows medical staff celebrating the closures of isolation rooms at King Saud Medical City Al-Shumaisi Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

7 September 2020

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634. This video shows a Seoul rally in October 2019, months before Covid-19 was first reported in South Korea

A video of a large protest has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter in August 2020 alongside a claim it shows a rally against coronavirus restrictions in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The claim is false; the video was first published online in October 2019, nearly four months before the first case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea in January 2020. 

4 September 2020

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633. This image shows Liverpool fans celebrating their team’s UEFA Champions League win in 2005

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows a protest against coronavirus restrictions in the British capital of London. The claim is false; the image shows football fans celebrating in the English city of Liverpool after Liverpool Football Club won the UEFA Champions League in 2005.

4 September 2020

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632. False claim circulates online comparing SARS and Covid-19 outbreaks in the Philippines

Multiple Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times purport show an accurate comparison between the Philippine government's responses to the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2020 novel coronavirus pandemic. The posts claim a prompt travel ban in 2003 resulted in zero SARS cases in the country, whereas a delayed ban in 2020 led to the Philippines recording the highest Covid-19 cases in Asia. The claim is false; Philippine government records show no travel ban was implemented in 2003; World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows the Philippines recorded 14 SARS cases that year; several Asian countries have recorded higher numbers of Covid-19 cases than the Philippines as of September 4, 2020.

4 September 2020

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631. This photo shows a 1997 music festival in Berlin

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook which claim it shows millions of people protesting against coronavirus restrictions at a rally in Berlin in late August 2020. The claim is false; the image shows a music festival in Berlin in 1997; thousands of people, not millions, protested against Covid-19 restrictions in Berlin on August 29, 2020.

2 September 2020

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630. Outdated guidance on masks circulates on Facebook in Manitoba

Facebook posts shared hundreds of times in Manitoba claim that the official guidance from Canada’s central province on mask-wearing states it is ineffective at preventing illnesses like the novel coronavirus. The posts feature an image of a document from February 2020 and do not reflect the provincial health department's current advice on wearing masks to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

1 September 2020

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629. This video actually shows an anti-government protest in Belarus

A video has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim that it shows a rally against coronavirus restrictions in the British capital of London. The claim is false; the footage shows an anti-government protest in Belarus in August 2020.

1 September 2020

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628. Trump retweets false claim that CDC cut Covid-19 death toll by 94%

Social media posts shared thousands of times and retweeted by President Donald Trump claim the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cut the national Covid-19 death toll by 94 percent, citing a CDC comorbidity chart. The claim is false; the head of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) said everyone included in the fatalities died from Covid-19 but the disease usually causes additional conditions, which are also listed.

31 August 2020

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627. This image shows an Italian artist's illustration of a futuristic vehicle, not a prediction of what 2022 would look like

An illustration of people driving single-occupancy vehicles has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram alongside a claim it was created by an Italian artist in 1962 to show what he imagined the world would look like in 2022. The claim is false; the image shows an illustration by the Italian artist of a futuristic vehicle he imagined could improve traffic in big cities. 

27 August 2020

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626. This video does not show a Covid-19 patient who was nearly buried alive

A video viewed thousands of times claims to show a Covid-19 patient in a Kenyan village who was “nearly buried alive” during his own funeral. The claim is false; county officials confirmed to AFP Fact Check that while the video was indeed taken during a burial ceremony, the man seen lying on the ground wearing protective gear had fainted and is a relative of the deceased.

27 August 2020

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625. Covid-19 poses risks to children, and health authorities recommend they wear masks

A flyer shared on Facebook claims children have little chance of dying of Covid-19, they have essentially no chance of spreading the disease asymptomatically, and that they face a series of risks from wearing face masks. This is misleading; doctors say children can die from the disease and can also spread it, and US health authorities recommend that most youngsters over the age of two wear masks.

27 August 2020

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624. This image shows an Italian artist's illustration of a futuristic vehicle, not a prediction of what 2022 would look like

An illustration of people driving single-occupancy vehicles has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram alongside a claim it was created by an Italian artist in 1962 to show what he imagined the world would look like in 2022. The claim is false; the image shows an illustration by the Italian artist of a futuristic vehicle he imagined could improve traffic in big cities. 

27 August 2020

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623. All grades in South Africa are scheduled to complete the school year, not repeat it

Facebook posts shared in South Africa claim that some grades will be repeating the current school year in 2021. However, this is false; no such announcement has been made, and the school year calendar has in fact been amended by the education department in an attempt to recover the time lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

27 August 2020

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622. CDC program involves Covid-19 vaccine distribution, not injection, in North Dakota

Facebook posts claim Native Americans in North Dakota will be the first subjects to receive a novel coronavirus vaccine, in one case citing a local news article as “evidence.” This is false; North Dakota was selected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be part of a project preparing for vaccine distribution -- not injection -- once Covid-19 shots are approved.

26 August 2020

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621. Taking your temperature with an infrared thermometer does not damage the pineal gland

A Facebook post shared thousands of times claims that taking a person’s temperature with an infrared thermometer near their head risks damaging the pineal gland, which is located in the brain. This is false, said neuroscience experts, who explained that this type of thermometer does not emit infrared radiation but captures wavelengths from the body.

25 August 2020

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620. Posts criticize Democrats for not wearing masks at a time when they weren’t recommended

Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times during the Democratic National Convention criticize Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and other top Democrats for appearing in a crowd without masks. This is misleading; the photos in the posts are from a Democratic event held weeks before US health authorities began recommending that the general population wear face coverings to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

24 August 2020

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619. The World Health Organization has not been kicked out of Tanzania

An article claiming that the Tanzanian government has kicked the World Health Organization (WHO) out of the country has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. The claim is false; there is no evidence of any such directive and a WHO representative in Tanzania confirmed that the office is still operational.

21 August 2020

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618. This video shows a mock funeral procession during an anti-citizenship law protest in India in 2019

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim it shows a mock funeral procession to "celebrate" Indian Home Minister Amit Shah testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The claim, however, is false; the video shows a mock funeral procession staged during an anti-citizenship law protest in the east Indian state of West Bengal in 2019.

21 August 2020

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617. Misleading claims about COVID-19 vaccine spread by ‘Plandemic’ video

A six-minute clip from the film titled “Plandemic: Indoctornation” seeks to raise fears about the vaccines that could help address the COVID-19 pandemic, and it makes misleading claims about the vaccines currently in clinical trials.

20 August 2020

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616. Fake WHO document shared in anti-mask posts

An image appearing to show an official World Health Organization (WHO) publication highlighting scientific research has been shared on social media in an attempt to prove the global health body does not recommend mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the WHO said the document did not originate from them and includes “cherry picked” studies. The agency -- like numerous other health bodies -- recommends mask wearing to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

20 August 2020

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615. Misleading claim circulates on Facebook about dangers of face masks alongside photos of skin conditions

Five images have been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim they show images of people suffering from skin problems that have been caused by wearing face masks. The claim is misleading; three of the images show cases of chickenpox, eczema, and rosacea unrelated to wearing face masks, while the other two relate to wearing face masks.

20 August 2020

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614. New ‘Plandemic’ film promotes coronavirus conspiracy theory

A film titled “Plandemic: Indoctornation” promotes the idea that the coronavirus pandemic ravaging countries around the world is the result of an elaborate conspiracy. It makes multiple unfounded claims, including that the deadly virus was designed in a lab and global health leaders knew the crisis would occur, and also seeks to stoke fears about vaccines.

19 August 2020

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613. Misleading claim circulates online about Philippine Health Department's guidelines for face shields

An image has been shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows guidelines issued by the Philippine Department of Health about appropriate face shields to protect from the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; the Philippine health authority said it did not issue the image in its guidelines; no official government statement on face shields features the image in the misleading posts.

19 August 2020

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612. False claim circulates on Facebook that Australians 'will be fined if they discuss COVID-19 conspiracies'

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim that “Aussies will be fined if they are found to be talking about conspiracies to do with [COVID-19]”. The posts included a screenshot of a segment from an Australian breakfast television show as evidence for the claim. But the claim is false; an Australian legal expert said as of August 18, 2020, he was not aware of any legislation that banned discussions of COVID-19 conspiracy theories; the Attorney General's Department also said it was not aware of any legislation banning such discussions; the television show pictured in the posts, Nine Network’s Today Extra, said it had been reporting the results of a viewer poll about conspiracy theorists, rather than a piece of legislation.

19 August 2020

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611. This photo shows Vladimir Putin meeting a young patient from an oncology centre in 2012

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it shows Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting at a table with his daughter, who he announced in August 2020 had taken part in a novel coronavirus vaccine trial in Russia. The posts go on to claim that the COVID-19 vaccine developed in Russia will “save the world from corona”. The claims are misleading; the photo in fact shows the Russian leader sitting next to a young patient from a Moscow medical centre during a visit to the Kremlin in 2012; on August 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was looking forward to reviewing clinical trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed in Russia, which it listed as being in the first stage of development.

17 August 2020

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610. Misleading claim circulates online that Singapore has 'banned' sale of US produce due to coronavirus

A claim has been shared repeatedly on Line Messenger and Facebook that states Singapore has “banned” people from buying fruit and vegetables imported from the US over fears it could be contaminated with the novel coronavirus. The post goes on to allege the US has been transporting produce in trucks that also carry “dead bodies infected with COVID-19”. The claim is misleading; Singapore's government said it had “not issued any statement discouraging consumption of imports from the US"; health experts say there is insufficient evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted to humans through food.

17 August 2020

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609. This woman is an ordinary volunteer in Russia’s coronavirus vaccine trial, state media reports

Shortly after President Vladimir Putin declared Russia the first country to approve a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, a photo began circulating in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts that claimed it showed Putin’s daughter receiving the jab. The claim is misleading; the woman in the image has been identified by Russian state media as Natalia, a volunteer in the vaccine trial; the images in the misleading post correspond to video of the vaccine trial that has circulated online since June; Natalia’s features do not correspond to publicly-available images of Putin’s two daughters.

17 August 2020

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608.Face mask use does not lead to Legionnaires’ disease

Posts shared thousands of times on social media claim Legionnaires' disease, a serious type of pneumonia, can be contracted through reusable face masks, implying that it could be mistaken for COVID-19. This is false; experts say Legionnaires’ disease cannot be caught or spread via masks, and that it is not related to spikes in COVID-19.

14 August 2020

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607. No tourists have been allowed to visit New Zealand since March 2020 -- this photo has circulated online since 2016

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts in August 2020 which claim it shows “Chinese tourists allowed to go out of the Auckland bubble”. The posts were shared after New Zealand's government reimposed a coronavirus lockdown on the city of Auckland after it recorded the country’s first local transmissions of COVID-19 in more than 100 days. The claim in the posts is false; the image has circulated online in news reports since at least 2016; New Zealand health officials said no tourists have been allowed into the country since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

14 August 2020

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606. Canadian children with COVID-19 symptoms can quarantine with a parent or guardian

Facebook posts shared thousands of times in Canada claim that parliament has passed a law that would allow the government to quarantine a child who showed COVID-19 symptoms at school separately from a parent. This is false; Canada’s legislature has not passed any such law during the pandemic, and an expert said such legislation, federal or provincial, would easily be struck down as unconstitutional in the courts.

14 August 2020

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605. US far from reaching herd immunity for COVID-19

A Facebook post shared thousands of times claims the United States has reached herd immunity for COVID-19. But experts say this is false, and that the country is far from the point where enough people have the immunity necessary to curb the disease’s spread.

13 August 2020

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604. False claim circulates online that Australian government paid nursing homes to register deaths as caused by COVID-19

Multiple Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim the Australian government paid nursing homes AUS$25,000 for “labelling [COVID-19] as the main cause of deaths on death certificates”. The posts cite a purported broadcast with an unidentified man on an Australian radio station as evidence for the claim. The claim is false; the local radio station that broadcast the segment with the anonymous caller from the general public said the claim was “immediately recognised as potentially inaccurate information” and was not aired again after the initial live broadcast; in response to the misleading posts, Australia’s Department of Health said the claim was “false” and that only registered doctors can issue death certificates.

13 August 2020

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603. Misleading claim circulates online about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's visit to Hindu temple

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visiting a Hindu temple after declaring the country had reached its 100th consecutive day of no local coronavirus transmissions. The claim is misleading; the video shows Ardern visiting the temple on August 6, 2020, three days before the country hit its 100-day milestone; on August 11, New Zealand recorded four new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections after 102 consecutive days of no community infections.

13 August 2020

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602. This photo was taken in China almost ten years before the novel coronavirus pandemic

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows Japanese officials paying tribute to frontline workers during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the photo shows a group of workers in China in 2011.

13 August 2020

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601. Hoax circulates online that vaccines have caused deaths in the Philippines

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared thousands of times in August 2020 claim that five people in the Philippine city of Tarlac died after receiving vaccine shots. The claim is false; the Tarlac City government and the Philippine Department of Health said the claim was “fake”; the World Health Organization (WHO) said the polio vaccine that was administered across the Philippines in August 2020 was safe.

11 August 2020

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600. Comments on coronavirus measures falsely attributed to Fox News host Tucker Carlson

Social media posts shared thousands of times attribute comments criticizing coronavirus measures to Fox News host Tucker Carlson. But a Fox spokeswoman said Carlson did not say or post them, and they have also been credited to multiple other people by name as well as to an anonymous author.

11 August 2020

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599. False claim circulates online in the Philippines that Canada is ‘free’ of the novel coronavirus

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared thousands of times in August 2020 claim that Canada is “free” of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; as of August 9, 2020, the Canadian government reported it had 6,742 active COVID-19 cases; on August 6, the country's top public health official urged Canadians to "learn to live with the virus".

August 10, 2020

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598. No evidence flu vaccines make children more vulnerable to coronavirus infections

Social media posts claim children vaccinated against the flu are at a significantly higher risk of contracting other respiratory infections, including coronaviruses. This is false; large studies in British Columbia and the US found no evidence that the influenza vaccine increases the risk of contracting a coronavirus, and health officials throughout North America recommend the flu vaccine for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

7 August 2020

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597. Discredited scientific paper behind false claims on COVID-5G link

Social media posts say that 5G technology creates coronavirus in human cells, but the false claim originated from a discredited paper later retracted by a scientific journal. The claims are not based on scientific evidence, experts say, and the paper was withdrawn after its publisher found “manipulation of the peer review” process. 

7 August 2020

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596. Hoax circulates online that Fauci ‘knew’ about effective coronavirus treatments in 2005

Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on various websites claim that US top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci “has known for 15 years” that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are effective treatments for coronaviruses, citing a 2005 academic paper. The claims are false; one of the authors of the 2005 study said the findings were based on laboratory tests for SARS-CoV, not clinical trials; the study was published by the Virology Journal, which belongs to a for-profit publisher and is not associated with Fauci or the US National Institutes of Health; as of August 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is "no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19".

7 August 2020

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595. False claim circulates on Facebook that 'viruses do not harm or kill' people

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim “viruses do not harm or kill [people]” and that any “harm and death” caused by a virus can be attributed to "the overreaction of a weakened and dysfunctional immune system". The claim is false; viruses can kill people and a dysfunctional immune system does not cause death, experts say.

6 August 2020

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594. Tips on safe sex during COVID-19 pandemic misrepresented in Canadian Facebook post

Facebook posts claimed that British Columbia’s top health officer warned about the risks of asbestos poisoning from boards used as barriers against COVID-19 transmission during sex. This is false; health authorities in the Pacific province did include “glory holes” in online virus-prevention tips, but they did not mention asbestos. That warning was satire shared out of context, its author told AFP.

5 August 2020

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593. False claim circulates online that the United States is testing a COVID-19 vaccine on Ukrainian soldiers

Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter claim that four Ukrainian soldiers died after participating in American COVID-19 vaccine trials in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The claim, published in several languages across different posts, was attributed to a police spokesperson in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic. The claim is false; Ukraine military and Kharkiv medical officials said the posts were “fake news”. 

5 August 2020

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592. Members of Congress did not receive quarantine exemption for John Lewis’s funeral

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim Washington’s mayor exempted members of Congress from a 14-day quarantine after they traveled to the funeral of civil rights icon John Lewis in Georgia, which the city considers a “high-risk” state for the coronavirus. But this is misleading, as there was no special exemption; rather, government activity is considered an essential service and the US Capitol is not covered by the mayor’s order, her office said.

5 August 2020

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591. These photos are not of a large protest against COVId-19 restrictions in Germany

A photo collage has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim the images were taken during a protest against coronavirus restrictions in Germany in August 2020. The claim is false; all four photos have circulated in reports about Black Lives Matter protests across Germany in June 2020.

4 August 2020

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590. This photo does not show a massive protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Germany

A photo has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim it shows a protest against coronavirus restrictions in the German capital of Berlin in August 2020. The claim is false; the photo, which has circulated online since at least 2018, shows a street parade in Switzerland before the COVID-19 pandemic.

4 August 2020

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589. Misleading claim circulates online comparing severity of COVID-19 with swine flu

Multiple Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times claim the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has infected far fewer people than the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, but “media hysteria” has prompted an overblown response. The claim is misleading; in April 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that COVID-19 is “10 times more deadly than swine flu”; health experts say COVID-19 has a higher death rate than swine flu, which could in turn put more pressure on healthcare systems.

3 August 2020

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588. Fit people are not immune to COVID-19

A post shared thousands of times on Facebook claims the novel coronavirus does not affect people who are very fit or thin. This is false; the pandemic has shown that nobody is immune to COVID-19, and experts called the claim "dangerous."

31 July 2020

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587. Social media posts misquote face mask advice from international health authorities and academics

A claim has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook, Instagram and other websites in July 2020 that top medical experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The New England Journal of Medicine have warned against wearing face masks because they can cause “severe health issues”. The claim is false; the health authorities did not issue the purported statement, and in fact advocate universal mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

31 July 2020

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586. Wearing a face mask does not put you at risk of developing pleurisy, health experts say

Multiple posts shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter claim that a woman contracted pleurisy, a lung inflammation condition, after wearing a face mask for an extended period of time. According to the posts, the unidentified woman caught the disease because she was breathing in carbon dioxide and her own bacteria. The claims are false; pulmonologists say wearing a face mask does not put you at risk of developing pleurisy, nor does it deprive users of adequate oxygen or cause a surge in carbon dioxide levels.

31 July 2020

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585. Misleading claim spreads online that New Zealand has authorised troops to enter homes to enforce COVID-19 quarantine

A video shows a candidate in the upcoming New Zealand elections claiming that the country's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, authorised the military to enter private residences in order to enforce COVID-19 quarantine measures. It has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook in July 2020. The claim is misleading; in response to the posts, the New Zealand Defence Force, the Ministry of Health and legal experts said the military had not been given the purported powers.

31 July 2020

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584. Hoax posts offer hazard pay to US pandemic workers

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering hazard pay compensation to individuals who worked during the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the posts lead to a hoax website with a picture of an ape, and economic relief payments are overseen by the US Treasury Department, not FEMA, and are not tied to hazardous work.

30 July 2020

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583. Experts say corpses infected with COVID-19 do not get more infectious over time

A post shared more than a thousand times on Facebook claims that a corpse of a COVID-19 positive person is 100 times more “toxic” 72 hours after death -- and that because undertakers are not burying bodies within this prescribed period, funerals have become hotspots for further infections. The claim is false; according to experts, corpses do not get more infectious over time and the rise in infections after funerals is a result of mourners infecting one another.

30 July 2020

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582. Holy communion has not been banned in Toronto

Articles shared hundreds of times on Facebook in multiple countries claim that holy communion has been banned in Toronto as part of the Canadian city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. These claims are false, according to Toronto Public Health, Ontario’s Health Ministry and the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Archdioceses of Toronto.

30 July 2020

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581. Misleading claim circulates that the Philippines has cancelled school classes until 2021 due to COVID-19

Multiple Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times claim that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced in his recent national address there would be “no classes for all in 2020-2021”. The claim is misleading; in his July 27, 2020, address, Duterte banned face-to-face teaching until a COVID-19 vaccine is created, but called for the implementation of online learning as a temporary measure.

29 July 2020

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580. This video does not show an assault at a McDonald's restaurant in Singapore

A video of a man attacking a cashier at a McDonald’s restaurant has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it happened in Singapore. The claim is false; the video shows an assault at a McDonald’s restaurant in Hong Kong.

29 July 2020

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579. Wearing a face mask does not compromise your immune system, health experts say

Facebook and Twitter posts shared tens of thousands of times claim that wearing a face mask compromises a person's immune system. The claim is misleading; wearing a face mask does not negatively impact the immune system, according to health experts. As of July 2020, international health authorities and governments around the world recommended wearing face masks as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

July 29 2020

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578. US social media users still mischaracterize Canada’s COVID-19 aid

A text outlining Canada’s alleged response to the coronavirus pandemic with lengthy school shutdowns and universal relief payments was shared thousands of times in the US. The claims are misleading; schools are expected to reopen in September, only individuals directly affected by COVID-19 are eligible for financial aid, mortgage relief is granted by banks on a case-by-case basis, and rent is still due.

July 29 2020

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577. Rodrigo Duterte says there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19 in this video, not that there is one already

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple YouTube and Facebook posts that claim it shows an announcement from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about a successful COVID-19 vaccine. The claim is false; the video shows Duterte stating that a successful vaccine had not yet been created for COVID-19, during a government press conference aired on July 21, 2020.

July 29 2020

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576. Trump spreads video of doctor who falsely claims hydroxychloroquine cures COVID-19

US President Donald Trump used Twitter to spread footage of a doctor who claims a combination of medicines including hydroxychloroquine will cure COVID-19. But there is currently no cure for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and the false information the video contains has left social media companies scrambling to remove it.

July 29 2020

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575. Aardvark logo on COVID testing trucks mistaken for an Egyptian god of death

A series of photos shared tens of thousands of times claims that mobile testing facilities for COVID-19 carry a depiction of the Egyptian “god of death” Anubis as their logo. This is false; the logo features an aardvark according to the company that runs the testing facilities.

July 28 2020

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574. False claims circulate that global COVID-19 fatalities have surpassed 1.6 million

A Facebook post that made an exaggerated claim in May 2020 about the global death toll from the novel coronavirus has been amplified across the world, especially on social media accounts posting religious content. The most recent versions of the post claim that more than 1.6 million people have died from COVID-19, but this is false; the real number of deaths counted is currently less than half of that.

July 28 2020

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573. Hoax circulates that the WHO has approved Indian student's ginger juice 'COVID-19 remedy'

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter claim that the World Health Organization (WHO) has approved an Indian student's ginger juice “home remedy” for COVID-19. The claim is false; the WHO's spokesperson for India said the posts were “fake news”; as of July 28, 2020, the WHO states “there are no medicines that have been shown to prevent or cure [COVID-19]”.

July 28 2020

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572. Misleading claim circulates about WHO's advice on COVID-19 transmission from cats and dogs

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a statement that cats and dogs do not “carry” COVID-19. The claim is misleading; a WHO spokesperson told AFP they have published no such statement; in July 2020, experts said there was “little evidence” that animals can transmit the virus to humans, but there was some evidence of human-to-animal transmission.

July 27 2020

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571. This photo claiming to show supporters of a Philippine television network circulated online in February 2020, weeks before the government imposed COVID-19 restrictions

A photo has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows supporters of ABS-CBN, the largest television network in the Philippines, gathering in violation of the country's COVID-19 restrictions. The posts were shared after the government refused to renew ABS-CBN's operating licence. The claim is false; the photo has circulated online since February 2020, weeks before the government imposed COVID-19 restrictions and made mask-wearing mandatory in public.

27 July 2020

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570. False list of 'home treatments' for COVID-19 circulates online

A list of purported treatments for COVID-19 at its “different stages” has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts. The posts recommend that people with breathing problems should use an oxygen cylinder and monitor their oxygen levels before going to a hospital. The claims, however, are false; health experts have said there is no scientific evidence to suggest the list of purported treatments are effective; they also advised people with breathing difficulties due to suspected COVID-19 to seek immediate medical help.

22 July 2020

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569. Flawed experiments exaggerate risk from CO2 concentration in masks

A video shared online aimed to prove that face masks are dangerous to children by showing that toxic levels of CO2 concentrate inside a mask. This is misleading; experts dismissed the experiment as faulty science whose data is the opposite of what should be expected, and said there are no serious health effects to wearing a mask.

21 July 2020

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568. Face masks do not cause fungal lung infections if handled correctly, health experts say

Multiple posts shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram claim that face masks can cause fungal lung infections. The claim is misleading; wearing face masks will not cause fungal lung infections or harm human health if they are handled correctly, an epidemiologist said; the World Health Organization (WHO) states wearing face masks for long periods is safe providing wearers regularly change or wash their masks if they become wet or soiled. 

21 July 2020

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567. There is no evidence that budesonide asthma inhalers can cure COVID-19, experts say

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook claim that budesonide, a steroid used in asthma inhalers, can "cure" COVID-19. The claim is misleading; as of July 2020, health experts say there is no scientific evidence that budesonide can cure or treat COVID-19; the Philippine health department dismissed the claim as "fake news" and warned the steroid should only be used with a doctor’s prescription.

21 July 2020

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566. This footage has circulated in reports about unattended bodies at a hospital in south India in 2013, and does not show Covid-19 victims

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows COVID-19 victims at a hospital in the south Indian city of Hyderabad. The claim is misleading; the footage was published in reports about unclaimed bodies at a Hyderabad hospital in 2013, more than six years before the novel coronavirus pandemic.

20 July 2020

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565. No ban to end the use of face masks in Tanzania

An article claiming that Tanzania has banned the wearing of face masks to guard against the new coronavirus because they “caused anxiety among Tanzanians” has re-emerged in South Africa after first circulating online in May 2020. According to the piece, which has received thousands of interactions on Facebook, the order was issued by Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli. However, this claim is false; no such order was issued, and a government spokesperson has urged citizens to observe guidelines issued by experts to safeguard against COVID-19.

17 July 2020

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564. This video shows Amitabh Bachchan praising healthcare workers two months before he tested positive for COVID-19, not afterwards

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple Facebook, YouTube and Twitter posts alongside a claim it shows Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan expressing gratitude to healthcare workers at a Mumbai hospital in July 2020 after he was hospitalised for COVID-19. The claim is misleading; Bachchan recorded the video in April 2020, more than two months before he tested positive for COVID-19.

15 July 2020

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563. False social media posts purport to share coronavirus guidelines from Sri Lankan hospital

An image has been shared repeatedly on Facebook and WhatsApp alongside a false claim it shows a list of COVID-19 preventive measures issued by Sri Lanka's Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH). 

15 July 2020

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562. Fake pharmaceutical ad urges viewers to ‘take the shot’

Facebook posts shared more than 1,000 times appear to show a billboard advertisement from US pharmaceutical giant Merck encouraging viewers to take a novel coronavirus vaccine. This is false; there is no vaccine yet, a company spokesman said the advertisement is not legitimate, and a reverse image search shows the picture was created using clip art and a stock photo of a blank billboard.

14 July 2020

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561. A video of Tanzania's leader celebrating was taken years before the novel coronavirus emerged

A video showing Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli in a celebratory mood has been viewed more than 200,000 times on social media alongside claims that he was marking the country's eradication of COVID-19. The claim is false: an online search reveals that the clip was filmed in 2016, years before the novel coronavirus pandemic began.

14 July 2020

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560. This photo shows South Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic, not new cases of bubonic plague in China 

A photo of four people wearing protective clothing on a street has been shared hundreds of times alongside a claim it shows Chinese authorities responding to new cases of bubonic plague detected in Inner Mongolia in July 2020. The image has been shared in a misleading context; it is actually an AFP photo that shows soldiers spraying disinfectant in South Korea during the coronavirus pandemic; the other three images in the post do not directly relate to the recently detected cases of bubonic plague.

14 July 2020

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559. This video does not show Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn chanting an Islamic invocation to get rid of coronavirus

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim it shows Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn chanting an Islamic invocation to get rid of coronavirus. The claim is false; the video has previously circulated in reports about the Thai king presiding over a celebration of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday in Bangkok in April 2019, months before the first coronavirus case was reported in Thailand.

13 July 2020

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558. Health experts say COVID-19 swab tests are safe and do not damage the blood-brain barrier as claimed

An illustration has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook and Instagram posts which claim it shows that nasal swab tests for COVID-19 can harm the blood brain-barrier, a semipermeable membrane separating blood from other fluids in the brain. The claim is misleading; experts say COVID-19 swab tests are not placed near the blood-brain barrier and do not pose a risk to human health.

13 July 2020

More here.

557. This image was created using only photos of healthcare workers who died of coronavirus in Mexico, not worldwide

A photo mosaic has been shared repeatedly in multiple Sinhala-language Facebook posts alongside a claim it was created using photos of “all doctors and nurses” who have died of COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the image was produced by a Mexico-based newspaper to honour 198 healthcare workers who died in Mexico after being infected with COVID-19. 

10 July 2020

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556. Misleading claim spreads online about detection of bubonic plague in China

Multiple posts shared thousands of times claim the World Health Organization (WHO) has said a case of bubonic plague detected in China in early July 2020 is likely to trigger a "severe epidemic". The posts also claim that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said bubonic plague can be spread through cough droplets. The claims are misleading; the WHO has said the bubonic plague case is not high-risk and is “being well managed”; the CDC states bubonic plague is usually caused by flea bites.

9 July 2020

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555. Post falsely claims that image shows a family who died after eating food served on virus-contaminated banana leaf

An image has been shared thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim that it shows a family who died after eating food served on virus-contaminated banana leaf. The claim is false; similar photos of the same group of people circulated in Indian media articles about a family who were reported to have taken their own lives in India in 2017.

8 July 2020

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554. This 1998 photo shows young polio patients in Sierra Leone, not the aftermath of vaccine trials on Africans

A purported image of children with limb deformities has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts published in 2020 alongside a claim it shows the aftermath of vaccine trials on Africans. The claim is false; the photo, taken in 1998 in the West African country Sierra Leone, actually shows unvaccinated children who contracted polio.

8 July 2020

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553. Nokia latest to be hit by Facebook scam claiming phone giveaway for students during the pandemic

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim Nokia is handing out phones to help students during the pandemic. However, the company said it has nothing to do with the scheme. Dozens of scam pages promising free phones have sprung up in recent weeks, a common ploy to boost follower numbers. 

3 July 2020

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552.  This Pakistani doctor was wounded by a police officer, not the family of a heart patient who died after being misdiagnosed with COVID-19

Two photos have been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook with a claim they show a Pakistani doctor who was attacked by the family of a heart patient who died after being misdiagnosed with COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the doctor was wounded at a Karachi hospital by a police officer after he was denied sleeping medications, according to police and the hospital.

3 July 2020

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551. Fake police bulletin about 'face mask scam' circulates worldwide

A purported "police bulletin" warning of a new burglary scam has been shared thousands of times by Facebook users. 

2 July 2020

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550. False claim circulates online that China is no longer hospitalising COVID-19 patients

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared hundreds of times in June 2020 claim that people in China have stopped going to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment and instead "kill the virus with heat" through "steam inhalation"; "hot gargles" and "hot tea". 

1 July 2020

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549. Mask misinformation spreads in the US as COVID-19 cases spike

Social media posts shared thousands of times in the United States contain multiple false or misleading claims about face masks used to stop the spread of COVID-19, including that they violate federal standards for oxygen supply, cloth masks “do not filter anything” and trap carbon dioxide, surgical masks spread germs, and N95 masks expel unfiltered air.

30 June 2020

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548. This is not a genuine photo of a baby girl who died after contracting COVID-19

A blog post has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows a video of a baby who died after being infected with the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The claim is false; the blog post in fact shows a photo that has circulated online since 2014 in reports about a man who killed his wife and children in New York City.

30 June 2020

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547. Misleading claim circulates about the accuracy of COVID-19 tests in Australia

A purported screenshot of an Australian Department of Health webpage has been shared repeatedly on Facebook alongside a claim it is evidence that COVID-19 tests “cannot distinguish covid from a cold or measles or ebola”. The claim is misleading; Australian health authorities told AFP the image contains “selectively chosen information taken out of context”, and clarified that tests designed for SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, would not detect any other kinds of pathogens.

30 June 2020

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546. List of unsubstantiated COVID-19 treatments circulates online

A photo of a list of purported symptoms and treatments for the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The purported remedies include a daily dose of vitamins; exposure to sunlight; and a diet of alkaline foods. The claims are false; as of June 29, 2020, experts say there is no known cure for COVID-19; AFP has previously debunked hoax claims about the purported coronavirus symptoms and remedies.

29 June 2020

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545. These are not photos of throats of coronavirus patients

Two photos which show human throats have been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts warning about the seriousness of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The photos have been shared in a misleading context; both images have circulated online before the COVID-19 pandemic; health experts have clarified that only a small percentage of COVID-19 patients are likely to develop the most severe symptoms.

29 June 2020

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544. Disgraced US researcher makes latest false claims about vaccine safety

A short portion of an interview given by discredited researcher Judy Mikovits, in which she claims that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be deadly, warns against immunization, and advocates for a five-year moratorium to test all vaccines, has been watched tens of thousands of times on YouTube and Facebook. The claims are false; vaccine candidates go through three phases of clinical trials, are carefully monitored for adverse effects, and multiple doctors told AFP vaccines are safe.

26 June 2020

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543. This is not a video of a protest in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic

Aerial footage of a large procession of people has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook alongside claims that the video shows protests in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic The claim is false; the video has circulated in media reports about people in Iran attending a funeral procession for military leader Qasem Soleimani in January 2020. 

26 June 2020

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542. This is not a video of a Brazilian politician furious over nonexistent COVI-19 patients

A widely shared video claims to show Brazilian lawmaker Filippe Poubel erupt in anger as he breaks into a field hospital that had claimed to have 5,000 novel coronavirus patients and finds it empty. In reality, the clip depicts the politician expressing his displeasure over a delay in opening a new COVID-19 hospital.

25 June 2020

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541. Scientists warn against 'bogus' COVID-19 removal cards

South Sudan's president and senior ministers have appeared in public in recent weeks wearing so-called “virus removal cards”, clip-on tags marketed as prevention against infectious diseases. AFP Fact Check found the items for sale online in various countries, including Lebanon, Malaysia and the Philippines. However, scientists warn the cards, which have been banned in the US and elsewhere, do not prevent COVID-19.

25 June 2020

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540. Hoax circulates about a supposed plan by Bill Gates to 'microchip the vaccine' 

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim that Bill Gates’ “ultimate goal” is to “microchip the [COVID-19] vaccine” to create “virtual IDs”. The posts also claim the billionaire philanthropist was in New Zealand in May and June 2020 “to test and trial the COVID-19 vaccine”. Both claims are false; a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spokesperson dismissed the purported link between Gates and microchips; as of June 24, New Zealand authorities say there is no record of Gates visiting the country in 2020. 

25 June 2020

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539. Scams of phones being given out for pandemic education circulate in Nigeria

Multiple posts shared thousands of times on Facebook in Nigeria claim to be giving out smartphones to help students attend online classes during the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, this is one of a growing number of scams aimed at increasing followers of social media pages and accounts.

25 June 2020

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538. This is not a photo of a baby who contracted COVID-19 after heart surgery

The image of an intubated baby with a large chest scar has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook, with claims that the infant had recently survived heart surgery before testing positive for the novel coronavirus. This is misleading: the pictured baby had heart surgery in 2012 and the now seven-year-old child does not have COVID-19, his parents say.

25 June 2020

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537. CDC does not add flue and pneumonia deaths to COVID-19 toll

A Facebook post shared thousands of times claims the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lied about the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 by combining the count with pneumonia and influenza fatalities. This is false; the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) only records those who died from COVID-19 in its toll for the disease.

24 June 2020

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536. Map used to make misleading comparison of COVID-19 spread in US, Canada

A post shared thousands of times on Facebook claims to show a map comparing the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and Canada. This claim is misleading according to the map’s creators because it is comparing cumulative cases between countries with very different populations and population densities.

24 June 2020

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535. Hoax circulates about 'Latin translation' of COVID-19

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter claim COVID-19 means “see a sheep surrender” in Latin. The claim is false; Latin language experts dismissed the claim as “nonsense”; the World Health Organization (WHO) states COVID-19 refers to “coronavirus disease 2019”.

24 June 2020

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534. This video does not show a COVID-19 nurse raped and murdered

A video that appears to show a woman being attacked has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple YouTube posts and on various websites alongside a claim the footage shows a COVID-19 frontline nurse who was raped and stabbed to death. The claim is false; the footage was in fact taken from a sexual harassment awareness campaign video in India that circulated online years before the coronavirus pandemic.

23 June 2020

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533. Israel has not reported zero deaths from COVId-19 due to baking soda remedy

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter since March 2020 claim that Israel has reported zero deaths from the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The posts also claim Israeli citizens have protected themselves from COVID-19 by drinking a remedy of hot water, lemon and baking soda, which purportedly “kills” the virus. Both claims are false; as of June 21 the World Health Organization (WHO) states Israel has reported 305 deaths from COVID-19; health experts say there is no evidence the baking soda concoction can cure or prevent COVID-19 infections.

23 June 2020

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532. This is not a genuine prescription issued by a Delhi hospital doctor for a COVID-19 patient

A photo of a handwritten letter which shows an Indian hospital's letterhead has been shared in multiple Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp posts alongside a claim that it is a genuine prescription issued by a doctor at the hospital for a COVID-19 patient. The claim is misleading; the hospital denied that the prescription was issued by one of their doctors and said the signature was forged.

22 June 2020

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531. This video does not show an overflow of coronavirus patients at a hospital in Pakistan

A video showing people in hospital beds on a street has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim it shows coronavirus patients who were moved outside a hospital in Pakistan because of an overflow of patients. The claim is false; the video in fact shows patients who were evacuated from a hospital in the Pakistani city of Lahore after a fire broke out.

22 June 2020

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530. This video shows a Berlin mosque broadcasting a call to prayer during the COVID-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows an Islamic call to prayer in Berlin after black clouds appeared in the sky. The posts claim the call was heard despite there being “no mosque” in the area. The claim is false; the video shows a call to prayer that was broadcast by a mosque in Berlin; the call was staged as a nearby church rang its bell in April 2020 as a sign of unity during the coronavirus pandemic. 

22 June 2020

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529. Rwandan government rejects claim leader Paul Kagame opposed WHO over virus tonic

Articles shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter claim Rwandan President Paul Kagame censured the World Health Organization (WHO) for rejecting a herbal tonic touted by the Madagascan government as a cure for COVID-19. However, a presidential spokesperson dismissed the claim as “fake news”. No evidence was found to show Kagame made the comments. In fact, he has said his government is avoiding untested remedies.

22 June 2020

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528. Fresh false claims about COVID-10 vaccine and 5G technology spread online in the Philippines

Multiple Facebook posts shared thousands of times by Filipino Facebook users make several false claims about a future vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The posts also make claims about a link between a potential vaccine and the rollout of 5G technology. The claims are all false, according to health experts.

19 June 2020

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527. Hoax circulates that India's capital region will be placed under new four-week lockdown

A claim that the entire Indian capital region including New Delhi will be placed under a “complete lockdown” for four weeks beginning June 18 has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter. The claim is false; as of June 19 no fresh lockdown has been announced in India, and government officials have said that no such plan was under consideration. 

19 June 2020

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526. Nobel winner Denis Mukwege rejects 'fake patients' quote circulating online

Viral posts circulating in Africa claim Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege resigned from the leadership of two COVID-19 task forces in DR Congo because he was told to manipulate patient numbers. The claim is false; Mukwege's resignation statement cited frustration at how the crisis was being managed, but nothing about fake patients. He has rejected the quotes attributed to him in the viral posts. 

19 June 2020

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525. Not all of these photos show life during the 1918 flu pandemic

Facebook posts claiming to show vintage photographs taken during the Spanish flu pandemic more than 100 years ago have been shared thousands of times in Africa, Asia and the United States. While most of the images do depict life in various parts of the world during the pandemic, some are unrelated to the event and either were taken years earlier or later.

19 June 2020

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524. This is not a photo of South Africa's president flouting virus laws at a birthday party in 2020; the images are from events long before the COVID-19 epidemic

A meme posted on Facebook claims South Africa’s president and ruling party politicians recently celebrated a high-profile birthday and flouted lockdown rules in the process. However, the images were taken in previous years. A secondary claim that COVID-19 is a bacteria -- and that this therefore would explain the lack of masks in the pictures -- has been refuted by experts.

19 June 2020

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523. Meme misleads about danger of long-term mask use

A meme shared thousands of times on Facebook claims people can suffer from reduced oxygen to their blood and brain, possibly leading to death, if they wear a disposable mask for too long. This is misleading; only a marginal decrease in oxygen saturation can sometimes be measured in people wearing a disposable mask, and several experts agree there is no evidence of long-term effects from breathing through a mask. 

18 June 2020

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522. South Sudan leaders have not flown abroad for COVID-19 treatment

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his first deputy Riek Machar recently became targets of tit-for-tat claims on Facebook alleging they had flown to foreign countries for COVID-19 treatment. For four days, rumours about the two men -- bitter rivals since the 2013 civil war -- flew thick and fast on social media. Allegations that they were abroad  (and even dead in the case of Kiir) were finally put to bed with television appearances from their respective homes in the capital, Juba.

18 June 2020

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521. False claim circulates that Android users in Australia have been automatically signed up to COVIDSafe app

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook state Android users in Australia have been automatically signed up to COVIDSafe, the government's COVID-19 contact tracing app, through an application programming interface (API) operated by Google. The claim is false; a cybersecurity expert said the API is “not an app”, and that the use of it is optional; the Australian government said the COVIDSafe app is available for voluntary download and cannot operate without being downloaded.

18 June 2020

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520. As US faces COVID-19 spike, outdated mask information spreads online

A Facebook post shared more than 25,000 times says face masks should only be worn by medical professionals or people who have become ill during the coronavirus pandemic. This is misleading; the World Health Organization guidance cited in the post is out of date, and US health authorities have long recommended that the general public wear masks.

17 June 2020

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519. Misinformation spreads online about reimposing a strict COVID-19 lockdown in Metro Manila

A purported government resolution has been shared in multiple Facebook posts in June 2020 claiming that the Philippine government has approved a motion to reimpose strict lockdown measures in Metro Manila, Cebu and Laguna. The claim is misleading and has been branded by the government as “fake news”; on June 15, authorities announced Metro Manila and Laguna would remain under its current, loosened lockdown restrictions until at least the end of June.

17 June 2020

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518. This video shows Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasizing the importance of clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, not claiming that 'vaccines make you worse'

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter which claim it shows US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci admitting vaccines are “toxic” and can “make you worse” during a press conference about the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; in the video, Fauci explains the importance of clinical trials to ensure potential vaccines against COVID-19 are effective. AFP has previously debunked multiple claims that vaccines are harmful.

17 June 2020

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517. This is not a photo of the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it was taken during the “Spanish flu” pandemic between 1918 and 1920. The claim is misleading; the photo has circulated in reports about fashion in 1913, about five years before the 1918 influenza pandemic; a spokesman for German photo agency Süddeutsche Zeitung Photo told AFP the photo shows “nose veil” fashion in 1913 after the Balkan war.

16 June 2020

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516. This video does not show police in India beating a man to death for violating COVID-19 lockdown; the footage has circulated in reports about police assaulting an intoxicated man in an inciden unrelated to the novel coronavirus

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows police in India beating a man to death after he violated a nationwide coronavirus lockdown by "venturing out for food". The claim is false; the video has circulated in reports about police beating an intoxicated man in India’s Madhya Pradesh state in an incident unrelated to the ongoing lockdown; police said two officers had been suspended over the incident for "assaulting" a man.

15 June 2020

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515. Misleading claim made about Indonesian governor being lauded for his handling of COVID-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim it shows that Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan received an international award for “the best governor” in handling the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is misleading; the clip shows the governor taking part in a global online summit with other city leaders from around the world about responses to the COVID-19 crisis.

15 June 2020

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514. Video of nurse giving misleading advice about face masks spreads on social media

A video of a nurse shared thousands of times on Facebook during the coronavirus pandemic warns the public against continuously wearing face masks. Her claims that wearing a face mask could harm the body are misleading, according to medical experts.

12 June 2020

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513. Nigerian government did not say schools would reopen on July 13

An article circulating on Facebook and Twitter claims that Nigerian schools will reopen on July 13, 2020, according to a government official. However, the claim is false; the author of the report admitted it was incorrect and Nigerian authorities have dismissed the claim.

11 June 2020

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512. Coronavirus testing is not an excuse to implant Gates-funded microchips

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim the coronavirus pandemic is a cover for a Gates Foundation-funded effort to implant microchips when patients’ noses or throats are swabbed during COVID-19 testing. This is false; the pandemic is real, the foundation denied the claim, and experts say there is a medical reason for the way swabs are used when testing for the disease.

11 June 2020

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511. France has not announced a ban on Africans travelling to Europe if they refuse 'the European vaccine' for COVID-19

Facebook posts circulating in Africa claim France has announced a ban on Africans travelling to Europe if they refuse “the European vaccine” for COVID-19. However, France’s foreign ministry rejected the claims and AFP Fact Check found no trace of such an announcement.

10 June 2020

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510. Misleading image used to claim vaccines are dangerous

An image shared on social media claims vaccines are dangerous because they contain potassium chloride, the chemical used to stop the heart in lethal injections. This is misleading; it is a salt that is necessary for organs to function properly, and medical experts say the minimal amount used in vaccines will not harm recipients.

10 June 2020

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509. Italy's health ministry rejects online 'hoax' about virus origin

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that the novel coronavirus disease is caused by bacteria and can be cured with household painkillers. The posts also claim that Italian doctors found a cure for COVID-19. Both claims are false; Italy's health ministry told AFP Fact Check that the posts were “a hoax”. No cure has been found for the disease.

9 June 2020

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508. Empty body bags were used in protests and not part of 'fake' pandemic plot

Facebook posts shared thousands of times accuse authorities of lining the streets with empty body bags in a bid to fool people about the “fake” novel coronavirus pandemic. But the claim is false: the photo was taken at a US protest against the government’s handling of the novel coronavirus crisis.

9 June 2020

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507. List of unproven COVID-19 treatments debunks by health experts

A message shared on WhatsApp and Facebook purportedly by a recovering COVID-19 patient in Britain makes several claims on ways people can prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. However, experts and health agencies have refuted most of the claims.

8 June 2020

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506. This video does not show migrant workers stopped at Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border during the COVID-19 lockdown

Footage of a large crowd has been shared in multiple Facebook posts claiming to show migrant workers who were stopped at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border during India's nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020. However, the claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least October 2019 and corresponds with local news reports about an Indian Army recruitment drive in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh. 

8 June 2020

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505. Woman in viral video makes misleading claims about face masks

A viral video shared on multiple social media platforms shows a woman outside a US store making several misleading claims about the use of face masks including that they do not protect from COVID-19 and that their use makes you sick. Research backed by leading academic institutions and international health bodies recommends they be used along with other measures to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

5 June 2020

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504. This video does not show conditions in a COVID-19 hospital ward in Delhi

A video purporting to show several dead bodies lying beside coronavirus patients in a hospital ward has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it was filmed in the Indian capital of Delhi. The claim is misleading; the footage in fact shows the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai; it has circulated in several reports about the hospital’s COVID-19 ward.

5 June 2020

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503. Business grant scam in Uganda resurfaces

A Facebook post claiming that the Ugandan government is offering grants to local businesses in an effort to cushion its citizens against the effects of COVID-19 has been shared hundreds of times. The claim is false; the Facebook post appears on a page impersonating Uganda’s finance ministry. The ministry has flatly denied partnering with any organisation for purposes of offering grants to Ugandan entrepreneurs in the ongoing pandemic.

5 June 2020

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502. Myth circulates online that Italy has discovered that COVID-19 is a bacteria, curable by paracetamol

Mulitple Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim the Italian health ministry has discovered COVID-19 is caused by bacteria. The posts go on to claim the health ministry discovered COVID-19 is exacerbated by 5G technology and can be cured using painkillers and antibiotics. The claims are false; the Italian health ministry said the posts were “a hoax”; the claims have also been widely refuted by international experts, who have found COVID-19 is caused by the novel coronavirus.

4 June 2020

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501. This is not a photo of a Pakistani official violating social distancing rules in May 2020

A photo of a Pakistani provincial chief minister has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts in May 2020 alongside a claim that it shows him violating social distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the photo was taken in 2018 during a procession on Ashura, a Muslim holy day.

4 June 2020

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500. Lesotho has not created a COVID-19 herbal remedy (as of June 4)

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that people in Lesotho are "immune" to COVID-19 because the country apparently created a remedy for the disease. The claim is false; a health ministry spokesman denied the southern African state had endorsed such a treatment while the head of the company that makes the tonic featured in the posts said it has not been tested to treat COVID-19.

4 June 2020

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499. Nigeria did not give cash donations to all its citizens

An article shared more than 14,000 times on Facebook claims the Nigerian government gave N20,000 ($52) to “everyone” across the country’s 36 states. This is false; the article in question shares a true story but uses an unrelated and misleading headline. Nigeria has a social investment programme to help the poor and handed out cash and food during the lockdown, but not to all citizens.

4 June 2020

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498. Video of fake 5G technology spreads on social media

A video has been shared thousands of times on social media, claiming that circuit boards with “COV-19” inscribed on them are being fitted to 5G towers. The claim is false; Virgin Media, the company that distributes these boards, and an independent expert confirmed that the equipment is an aged satellite TV component unrelated to 5G technology.

3 June 2020

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497. Misleading social media posts claim adverse health effects of face masks

Posts shared thousands of times on social media list a number of adverse health effects linked to wearing face masks. Some of these claims are false, while others are misleading, public health experts tell AFP.

3 June 2020

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496. This is not a photo of a daughter of the late Sri Lankan politician violating quarantine to attend a funeral

A photo from the funeral of a recently deceased Sri Lankan politician, Arumugam Thondaman, has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts. The posts claim the image shows one of Thondaman’s daughters violated Sri Lanka's mandatory coronavirus quarantine policy for travelers by attending the ceremony shortly after returning to the country from overseas. The claim is false; the image shows Thondaman’s other daughter, who resides in Sri Lanka and did not travel from abroad to attend the funeral. 

3 June 2020

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495. This is not a video of an Italian church that lost many of its congregants to COVID-19

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim it shows an empty church in Italy after almost all of its congregants died from the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the video shows a church in the US state of Mississippi during an online Easter service in April 2020.

3 June 2020

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494. This is not a video of Chinese citizens converting to Islam due to COVID-19, it shows an Eid-al-Fitr prayer in northwest China in 2015

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows Chinese citizens converting to Islam as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the footage actually shows an Eid-al-Fitr prayer in the Chinese city of Xining in 2015, years before the pandemic. 

3 June 2020

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493. Conspiracy theories circulate about 5G 'microchip implants'

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim that 5G mobile phones will work off microchips secretly implanted under the skin by vaccination for COVID-19. However, the posts combine various conspiracy theorists previously debunked by AFP Fact Check and experts reject any link between 5G technology and microchips.

1 June 2020

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492. Hoax circulates online that Taiwanese doctors have discovered COVID-19 as a 'combination of SARS and AIDS'

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim doctors from the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) in Taipei have found that COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is a combination of AIDS and SARS. The claim is false; according to a spokesperson from the hospital, the statement was not authored by its doctors; as of May 20, 2020, advisories from global health organisations have not characterised COVID-19 as a disease that is AIDS and SARS combined.

1 June 2020

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491. No evidence salt can treat COVID-19

Multiple posts shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube claim that salt is an effective remedy against the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; health experts have said there is no evidence that salt can treat the novel coronavirus disease; as of May 2020, the WHO says there is no remedy for COVID-19.

29 May 2020

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490. Vaccines do not violate the Nuremberg Code

Facebook and Instagram posts shared thousands of times claim that vaccines directly violate the Nuremberg Code, a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation established after World War II. This claim is false; medical ethics and legal experts said the principles, named after the Nuremberg trials, are compatible with vaccination.

29 May 2020

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489. Coronavirus 'survival rates' remain unknown, experts say

Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter claim that seven countries, including the United States, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, have "survival rates" of more than 99.9 percent for people who contract the novel coronavirus. The claim is misleading; as of May 2020, several medical experts said global COVID-19 survival rates remain unknown for various reasons.

29 May 2020

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488. This picture does not show overgrown shrubs at a Malaysian theme park during the novel coronavirus lockdown

An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Facebook which claim it shows overgrown shrubs at a theme park in Malaysia during a coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the image shows an abandoned theme park in Japan; it has circulated online since at least May 2019.

29 May 2020

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487. This photo does not show a victim of a deadly insect 'pandemic' during the novel coronavirus outbreak

A photo of a person with several puncture wounds on their arm has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim China and Iran were hit by a deadly insect “pandemic" during the coronavirus crisis. The claim is false; this photo has circulated in reports about a series of hornet attacks in China in 2013 -- almost seven years before the novel coronavirus was first detected.

29 May 2020

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486. Misinformation circulates about Japan’s plan to subsidise tourism after coronavirus lockdown is lifted

Multiple online articles and social media posts published in May 2020 claim the Japanese government is set to subsidise trips for foreign tourists visiting the country by up to half of the cost after it lifts its coronavirus lockdown. The claim is misleading; on May 27, 2020, the Japanese government clarified the plan will only apply to Japanese residents making domestic travel, adding the details of the policy are still being finalised.

29 May 2020

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485. No evidence robbers are using chemical-laced face masks on victims in South Africa

Facebook posts shared hundreds of times in South Africa claim that criminals posing as government officials are going around to people’s homes and distributing face masks that are laced with chemicals to knock them out and rob them. However, local police -- like their counterparts elsewhere in the world -- dismissed the claim as a myth.

28 May 2020

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484. US President Donald Trump did not offer Madagascar $2.5 million to developt its COVID-19 herbal remedy

Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim US President Donald Trump approved a $2.5 million fund for Madagascar to mass-produce a herbal remedy touted by the island’s president as a cure for COVID-19.  The claim is false; there is no evidence Trump made any such statement, and while the United States did give Madagascar $2.5 million to tackle the outbreak, government information on the fund’s use does not include producing a remedy.

27 May 2020

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483. Italian politician spreads false claims about Bill Gates in parliament speeches

A video of Italian politician Sara Cunial blasting Bill Gates as a “vaccine criminal” in speeches to parliament has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube. But her statements are riddled with misinformation. AFP Fact Check debunks some of the claims. 

27 May 2020

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482. Misleading claim circulates about coronavirus contact tracing app in New Zealand

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared thousands of times in May 2020 claim anyone in New Zealand who refuses to use a coronavirus contact tracing app has been banned from entering shops during the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is misleading; as of May 27, the app named in the posts is not a contact tracing app and is not being used by New Zealand's government as part of its coronavirus strategy; to date, the government's only coronavirus contact tracing app is voluntary for businesses and the public; shops in New Zealand are also not required to record consumer information for contact tracing purposes.  

27 May 2020

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481. This is not a photo of buses arranged by an Indian opposition party to transport migrant workers during the COVID-19 lockdown

A photo of a queue of buses in India has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim they were organised by a leading opposition politician to transport migrant workers who were left stranded after a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the photo has circulated in reports since February 2019 about a Hindu festival.

26 May 2020

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480. Madagascan president denies Putin ordered herbal drink touted as coronavirus remedy

A Facebook post shared thousands of times claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Covid-Organics, a herbal drink touted by Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina as a cure for COVID-19. The post claims that Putin urged Africans “not to follow” the World Health Organization (WHO), which has warned against untested traditional medicine. However, AFP Fact Check found no official reports from the Kremlin of any order and the Madagascan presidency denied the claims.

26 May 2020

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479. Madagascan president has not called on African states to quit WHO

Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim that Madagascar’s President Andry Rajoelina called on African nations to leave the World Health Organization (WHO). Although the leader has criticised the agency for warning against a herbal remedy he recommends to treat COVID-19, AFP Fact Check found no public record of him making such a statement. The Madagascan presidency has also rejected the claim.

25 May 2020

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478. Misleading claim circulates online that China and Japan have re-entered nationwide coronavirus lockdowns in May 2020

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim China and Japan have re-entered a strict coronavirus lockdown in mid-May 2020 following a “second wave” of the virus. The posts were shared as a "breaking news" alert on May 16. The claim is misleading; as of May 22, Japan has begun easing lockdown restrictions; on May 18, China put one city in Jilin Province under total lockdown but it has relaxed restrictions in other parts of the country.

25 May 2020

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477. This is not a real image of Bill Gates in handcuffs, it's a doctored photo of a 2014 mobster arrest

Multiple posts shared with a picture of a hand-cuffed Bill Gates being led away by FBI agents allege the US billionaire has been arrested for biological terrorism. This is false; the image is doctored and actually shows the  2015 arrest of New York mobster Vincent Asaro. The report was first published by a satirical website but was reproduced elsewhere as real news.

22 May 2020

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476. UN falsely accused of demanding Ecuador ‘legalize’ abortions to get COVID-19 aid

An article claims that a nearly $50 million United Nations humanitarian aid package to Ecuador is conditional on the South American country legalizing abortions. This is false; the UN said there was no such condition, and abortion is already allowed under limited circumstances.

22 May 2020

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475. This is not a genuine news report stating that US President Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus -- the footage has been edited and the original said that one of the president's valets had tested positive

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim it shows that US President Donald Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the video has been edited from a Fox News report about one of Trump’s valets testing positive for COVID-19 published on May 7, 2020.

22 May 2020

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474. This is not a video of an Italian boy who lost his mother because of COVID-19; the child speaks in Spanish and the footage has circulated since before the first coronavirus death was reported in Italy

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and YouTube which claim it shows an Italian boy looking up at the night sky calling out for his mother who died from the novel coronavirus. However, the claim is false; the boy speaks Spanish in the video; the footage has circulated online before Italy recorded its first COVID-19 death in February 2020. 

22 May 2020

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473. Hoax list of 'COVID-19 safety guidelines' circulates in India

A list of purported COVID-19 safety guidelines has been shared in multiple Facebook and Instagram posts that claim it was issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India’s leading research group on the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the ICMR said it did not issue the purported advisory; an online search found the list was not included on ICMR's website or in guidelines from India's health ministry.

22 May 2020

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472. Hoax government notice circulates in the Philippines about the civil service exam

A photo of a purported notice announcing that people who were unable to take the Philippine government’s civil service exam due to the COVID-19 pandemic will automatically receive a passing mark has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts. The claim is false; the Philippine Civil Service Commission (CSC) denied issuing the notice, and an online search found no such announcement about automatically passing delayed test takers.

22 May 2020

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471. Hoax circulates about new 'COVID-19 vaccine law' in Western Australia

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared hundreds of times claim the Australian state of Western Australia has recently passed a “COVID-19 Emergency Powers Act” that authorises forcible medical examination and vaccination in schools. The claim is misleading; a spokesperson from Western Australia’s Department of Health told AFP no such law has been passed during the pandemic; as of May 2020, the state has no COVID-19 vaccine programme.

22 May 2020

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470. This video does not show frogs for sale in China after coronavirus lockdown was lifted

A video showing hundreds of frogs being sold from the back of a truck has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it was taken in China after the country lifted its coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; this clip actually shows frogs being sold in Thailand.

22 May 2020

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469. Post falsely claims there were no US flu deaths during COVID-19 crisis

A Facebook post shared 10,000 times claims no Americans died from the flu in 2020, suggesting that the national count of COVID-19 fatalities is exaggerated. This is false. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than 7,500 Americans are estimated to have died this year from influenza during the novel coronavirus.

21 May 2020

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468. Gates Foundation targeted with misleading claims about India polio vaccine campaign

Social media posts and online articles shared tens of thousands of times claim that the foundation of billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates tested a polio vaccine in India that left at least 490,000 children paralyzed. The claim is misleading; official statistics show only a tiny number of cases in which the oral polio vaccine directly resulted in Indian children contracting the disease.

21 May 2020

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467. This video shows an annual Hindu ritual and has nothing to do with coronavirus

A video viewed thousands of times on Facebook posts claims to show Indians throwing statues of their gods into a river after they allegedly failed to protect them from the new coronavirus. The claim is false; the clip dates back to at least September 2015, years before the COVID-19 pandemic. It shows a ritual during the closure of a religious festival dedicated to the Hindu god Ganesh.

21 May 2020

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466. Freediver's video about face masks contains misleading claims, experts say

A video shared more than 10,000 times on Facebook features a freediving champion who claims that masks don't offer protection from the novel coronavirus and that the moisture created by breathing into a mask actually offers a fertile environment for the virus. However, experts told AFP that the video makes several misleading assumptions.

21 May 2020

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465. Misinformation circulates about babies contracting Kawasaki disease during the coronavirus pandemic

Two photos have been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim that Kawasaki disease is spreading among babies during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is misleading; one of the photos has previously circulated in reports about a skin blister caused by a different disease; health authorities are still investigating cases of a Kawasaki-like condition observed in some children with COVID-19, and maintain that children remain “minimally affected” by the virus overall.

21 May 2020

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464. Hoax circulates that Australian $10 notes feature images of coronavirus and Bill Gates

Photos of Australian $10 banknotes have been shared multiple times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that the note features images representing coronavirus and the billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. The claim is false; the Reserve Bank of Australia said the images on the notes instead show a tree native to Australia and Australian writer Mary Gilmore. 

21 May 2020

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463. This is not a photo of Ramadan gift bags in India during the COVID-19 pandemic, it dates from at least 2015

A photo has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claims to show gift bags distributed to Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan by India’s Telangana state government during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false, this photo has circulated online since at least 2015; Telangana’s chief minister has announced it will not distribute Ramadan gifts this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

21 May 2020

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462. Nigeria imposed a curfew to slow the spread of COVID-19, not to build 5G masts, it has not yet set up 5G networks

A post shared hundreds of times on Facebook claims that the Nigerian presidency imposed a curfew to allow Chinese companies to build 5G masts. This is false; the curfew is aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Authorities say 5G licences have not been issued to any firms in Nigeria -- Chinese or otherwise. 

21 May 2020

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461. This is not a video of crows flocking to the US during the coronavirus pandemic, it shows a swarm in Texas in 2016

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in May 2020 alongside a claim it shows crows “coming to Texas” after “attacking Wuhan, China”. The posts were shared as countries worldwide continue to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan in December 2019. The claim is false; the video shows black birds swarming the US state of Texas in December 2016; the audio of the video in some of the posts has been manipulated. 

20 May 2020

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460. This photo does not show a packed plane in Indonesia during the coronavirus pandemic

A photo showing rows of passengers wearing face masks and shields on board a plane has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it was taken in Indonesia during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the photo shows Indian nationals who returned home on a government-chartered flight from Singapore during the pandemic.

20 May 2020

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459. Website falsely claims mask-wearing is mandatory in Canada during COVID-19

Articles claim that not wearing a mask in Canada during the novel coronavirus pandemic can lead to a Can$3,000 fine or jail time. This is false. Masks are required aboard airplanes and by certain stores, but AFP did not find any Canadian jurisdiction where wearing them on the street is mandatory.

19 May 2020

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458. This list claiming to show viral outbreak originating in China from 1950 to 2019 is misleading

Multiple posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook purport to show a list of notable viral outbreaks between 1950 and 2019 which “originated in China”. The claim is misleading; some of the viral diseases listed in the posts were first reported elsewhere in the world.

19 May 2020

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457. Fake 'roadmap' for India's plans to relax coronavirus lockdown circulates online

Multiple Facebook posts have shared a purported roadmap for the Indian government's plans to ease a nationwide coronavirus lockdown alongside a claim that it shows an official government announcement. The claim is false; India’s official Press Information Bureau said the government had not release any such plan and labelled the posts “fake news”; the dates included in the purported roadmap corresponded with the Irish government's "roadmap for reopening society and business" during the coronavirus pandemic.

19 May 2020

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456. Misleading article warns against face masks during COVID-19 pandemic

An article that has been widely shared on social media warns healthy people against wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing alleged risks. But experts say masks can help curb the spread of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and that the article contains multiple false or misleading claims.

19 May 2020

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455. US Vice President Mike Pence did not deliver empty boxes to hospital during the coronavirus crisis

A video has been viewed millions of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Weibo and Twitter alongside a claim it shows US Vice President Mike Pence delivering empty boxes to a hospital for a publicity stunt during the coronavirus crisis. The claim gained traction online after the the clip was aired on the US television show Jimmy Kimmel Live!, hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel. The claim is false; the clip has been edited from a longer video which shows that Pence made comments about delivering "empty" boxes as a joke; Kimmel issued an apology about the misleading video broadcast on his show.

19 May 2020

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454. Bill Gates did not say that a COVID-19 vaccine could kill almost one million people

An article circulating on Facebook claims that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said a COVID-19 vaccine could kill almost one million people, citing an interview he gave. This is false; Gates was talking about vaccine safety and the potential for side effects, and gave a hypothetical figure to illustrate the number of people who could possibly be affected by them worldwide.

18 May 2020

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453. Misleading claims about face masks circulate social media

A post on Facebook criticizes the effectiveness of face masks in protecting the wearer from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This is misleading; US health authorities recommend they be worn to stop the spread of the disease, not to prevent the wearer from contracting it.

18 May 2020

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452. This photo does not show bodies of euthanised COVID-19 patients -- it is a 2015 image of a deadly hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows bodies of elderly coronavirus patients who were euthanised by their governments as a “practical” response to the pandemic. The claim is false; the photo actually shows bodies of victims in a hajj stampede in 2015; the claim about governments euthanising COVID-19 patients is an old hoax previously debunked by AFP.

18 May 2020

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451. This videos does not show sloth bears roaming a tea estate in Sri Lanka during the coronavirus curfew; it has circulated before the pandemic

A video of three sloth bears has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it was captured in Sri Lanka during a curfew implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the clip has circulated in reports about sloth bears in south India since November 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic; a Sri Lankan wildlife activist told AFP it would be "highly unlikely" to see sloth bears in the Sri Lankan town which was cited in the misleading social media posts.

18 May 2020

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450. Misleading claim circulates that Thailand tops global index for COVID-19 reponse and has lowest number of coronavirus cases

Multiple Facebook posts shared tens of thousands of times claim that Thailand has “ranked no. 1 in the COVID-19 fight category” based on an international health security index. The posts add Thailand has the "lowest number of infected cases at present". The claims, however, are misleading; the index cited in the posts, the Global Health Security (GHS) Index, was published months before the COVID-19 pandemic; Thailand also does not have the lowest number of COVID-19 infections in Asia or worldwide, according to multiple international authorities. 

18 May 2020

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449. Experts dismiss purported doctor's 'ridiculous' claim that ingesting semen could cure COVID-19

A video has been viewed more than 100,000 times in multiple posts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in which a purported Philippine doctor claims ingesting semen could cure a patient infected with the novel coronavirus, citing a 2016 scientific study. The claim is false; the authors of the 2016 study told AFP the claim was "ridiculous" and their findings have “nothing to do with COVID-19”; as of May 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no cure for COVID-19.

15 May 2020

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448. Children did not die from a COVId-19 vaccine in Guinea -- the video misrepresents a news report from March 2019

A YouTube video shared thousands of times claims that two children died from a novel coronavirus vaccine in Guinea. The claim is false; the video misrepresents a news report on children who fell ill in March 2019 after taking anti-parasite drugs. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.

15 May 2020

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447. This video does not show a 5G mast in flames in the Italian city of La Spezia

A video has been viewed more than 100,000 times in multiple Facebook posts that claim to show a 5G mast burning in the Italian city of La Spezia. The claim is misleading; the video in fact shows a transmission tower in La Spezia with only 3G and 4G antenna; as of May 13, 2020, 5G has not been rolled out in the northwestern Italian city. 

15 May 2020

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446. Myth circulates online that prolonged use of face masks can cause hypercapnia

Multiple Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts shared hundreds of times claim that wearing a face mask for an extended period of time could cause hypercapnia, a condition caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. The claim is misleading; health experts in Thailand have said that as of May 2020, there is no evidence that wearing a mask for a long period can cause hypercapnia.

14 May 2020

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445. This video does not show social distancing failure on an Air India flight during the coronavirus pandemic

A video of a row between passengers and cabin crew on board a plane has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts which claim it was filmed on an Air India flight. The posts claim the the video shows the airline failed to enforce social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; Pakistan International Airlines said the video was taken aboard one of its flights in April 2020; the video has previously circulated in reports about a Pakistan International Airlines flight.

14 May 2020

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444. This clip has been edited -- the original video shows Rahul Gandhi making a clear statement

A video clip of a leading opposition politician in India has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim that it shows him making a confusing remark about India’s system for classifying regional COVID-19 infections levels. The claim is false; the clip has been edited; the original video shows lawmaker Rahul Gandhi, the former president of the Indian National Congress (INC) political party, making a clear statement about the need for local control regarding COVID-19 classifications.

14 May 2020

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443. This 2019 photo has been doctored to include a COVID-19 reference

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows a placard with a message congratulating Sri Lankan leaders for "eradicating" the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the photo has been doctored to include a COVID-19 reference; the original photo of a political placard was taken by AFP in November 2019 following President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election victory.

13 May 2020

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442. These videos show victims of a gas leak at a chemical plant in India in May 2020, not victims of COVID-19

Three videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim they show people who died after contracting the novel coronavirus in India. The claim is false; the videos show the victims of a major gas leak at a chemical plant in India in May 2020.

13 May 2020

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441. With Holocaust comparison, misleading Facebook post claims Bill Gates seeks 'digital tattoos'

A post shared more than 160,000 times on Facebook during the novel coronavirus pandemic says Bill Gates wants “digital tattoos” to check who has been tested, and asks if it would be “like holocaust victims have.” This is misleading. Gates has spoken of the need for “digital certificates” for vaccination and testing but there is no evidence he has been in favor of a visible mark, like a tattoo. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also said the claim is false. 

13 May 2020

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440. Ghana leader falsely claims his country fronts Africa's COVID-19 testing

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo claimed in a speech that his country had administered more COVID-19 tests per million people than any other country in Africa. However, the claim is false; AFP has found from available statistics that Ghana comes behind South Africa and at least two other African countries.

13 May 2020

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439. Misinformation circulates about antiviral medicine remdesivir

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared hundreds of times claim the antiviral medicine remdesivir has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The claim is misleading; as of May 12, 2020, the FDA has only authorised the emergency use of remdesivir, an experimental drug, in treating COVID-19 patients in hospitals; as of May 12, 2020, there is no FDA-approved product available to treat COVID-19.

12 May 2020

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438. This 2017 photo shows food waste in Australia -- it is unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic

An image of a truck dumping fresh tomatoes onto an empty field has been shared thousands of times in multiple Sinhala-language Facebook posts which suggest it shows a scene in Sri Lanka. The posts claim it illustrates the government’s failure to help farmers to sell their produce during a coronavirus lockdown. The claim is misleading; the photo has circulated in 2017 news reports about food waste in Australia.

12 May 2020

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437. This video does not show shoppers in Pakistan fleeing police after flouting coronavirus lockdown  -- it has circulated in reports since at least 2015 

A video of people climbing down a building has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp alongside a claim it shows shoppers attempting to flee a shop after police discovered it had flouted Pakistan’s coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the footage has circulated online since at least 2015 in reports about a police raid on a brothel in Pakistan.

12 May 2020

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436. ‘Plandemic’ video peddles falsehoods about COVID-19

“Plandemic” -- a slickly-edited, 26-minute interview with a discredited researcher -- has been widely shared on social media. But the video, which YouTube and Facebook are working to remove for violating content standards, contains multiple false or misleading claims, including about the novel coronavirus, experts say.

12 May 2020

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435. This photo shows a Pakistani chief minister at iftar in Pakistan in 2018, not flouting COVID-19 lockdown measures in 2020

A photo of a Pakistani chief minister has been shared thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim it shows him flouting Pakistan’s coronavirus lockdown measures at iftar, a daily evening meal enjoyed by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. The claim is false; the photo in fact shows Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at iftar in 2018.

12 May 2020

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434. US health authorities have not cut reported COVID-19 death toll

Posts on social media claim the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised down its death toll for COVID-19. This is false; the CDC says it has not cut its statistics on fatalities from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and that its websites include two sets of figures -- one lower than the other -- based on different sources.

11 May 2020

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433. Misleading claim circulates that flu vaccines make people more vulnerable to infections

An image purportedly showing an article about flu vaccination has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim that flu vaccines can make people more vulnerable to infections. The posts, shared in May 2020 during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, add that those who receive flu shots are “the first to die in an actual global pandemic”. The claim is misleading; the image in the misleading posts relates to a now-deleted article on a US-based non-commercial health site; epidemiologists and global health authorities say flu vaccinations make people's immune systems stronger, not weaker; as of May 2020, there is no evidence that people who are immunised against the flu are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

11 May 2020

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432. This video has circulated online since at least 2017 -- two years before the COVID-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter in May 2020 alongside claims that it shows an intoxicated police officer in India after the government allowed liquor shops to reopen during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. This claim is misleading; the video has circulated in media reports about a drunk police officer since at least June 2017.

11 May 2020

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431. This is not a photo of a lone cleaner at Islam's holiest shrine; the image has been doctored and the original has circulated in reports about a Saudi policeman

An image of a person sitting near Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia, has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on online blogs. It was shared alongside a claim it shows a lone cleaner who was the only person permitted to sit around the Kaaba during the coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the photo has been doctored to remove two people standing near the Kaaba; the original image has circulated in media reports about a Saudi policeman praying at the Islamic shrine.

11 May 2020

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430. This photo of parrots on sacks of grain has circulated online since at least 2014 -- years before the COVID-19 pandemic

A photo showing scores of green parrots sitting on sacks of grain has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it was taken during a nationwide coronavirus lockdown in India. The claim is false; the photo has circulated online since at least March 2014.

11 May 2020

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429. This graphic about a 'COVID-19 lockdown extension' in the Philippines has been doctored

A graphic purportedly shows a news bulletin about an alleged extension of a COVID-19 lockdown in the Philippines until May 30, 2020, has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook posts claiming to reference a government announcement. The claim is false; the date on the graphic has been digitally altered; the Phillipine news organisation that published the original graphic condemned the doctored image as “fake news”; as of May 10, the Philippine government has not announced any further COVID-19 lockdown extensions after May 15.

11 May 2020

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428. This video shows a street in Dubai, not Saudi Arabia, after authorities eased coronavirus lockdown measures

A video of a street parade has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube alongside a claim it shows people celebrating the end of a coronavirus lockdown in Saudi Arabia. The claim is false; the video was filmed in Dubai; the footage corresponds with media reports about residents celebrating on the streets after Dubai authorities eased 24-hour quarantine measures in two districts.  

9 May 2020

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427. This photo shows a 'die in' protest by environmental activists in Germany, not Ecuador during the COVID-19 pandemic

A photo showing dozens of people lying on the ground has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it shows the situation in Ecuador during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the photo in fact shows an environmental protest outside a train station in Germany.

8 May 2020

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426. Hoax circulates that ‘not a single vegetarian has contracted COVID-19 according to the WHO'

Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts shared hundreds of times claim the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that no vegetarian has contracted the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the WHO denied issuing the report; as of May 2020, health experts have said there is no scientific evidence to suggest that a vegetarian diet prevents infection from COVID-19.

8 May 2020

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425. A flu shot will not make you test positive for COVID-19

Posts on social media claim that people who have been vaccinated against the flu in the last 10 years will test positive for COVID-19. This is false; experts say the novel coronavirus that causes the disease is unrelated to the flu, and that data on approved COVID-19 tests does not support the claim.

7 May 2020

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424. This photo has circulated in 2018 reports about Muslims offering Ramadan prayers in north India, it does not show violations of COVID-19 lockdown

A photo of hundreds of people praying together has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows Muslims in south India flouting the nation’s COVID-19 lockdown to offer night-time prayers. The claim is false; the photo was published by a photography agency in 2018 and shows Muslims in north India praying at night during the holy month of Ramadan.

7 May 2020

More here.

423. Misinformation on US flu shot ingredients resurfaces during pandemic

A widely-circulated image claims to reveal the ingredients contained in this year’s flu shots. The alleged ingredients include mercury, antifreeze, phenol, animal blood, animal viruses, and formaldehyde. Trace amounts of formaldehyde are present in flu vaccines authorized in the US this year, and the mercury-based product thimerosal is present in some of them. The photo’s list of ingredients is misleading and mostly inaccurate.

7 May 2020

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422. This video shows a hospital in India, not Pakistan and the facility said they do not treat COVID-19 patients

A video of a woman claiming that pneumonia, HIV, and cardiovascular patients are being treated together in a hospital’s COVID-19 isolation ward has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter. The footage includes superimposed text that claims the hospital is the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, a state-run facility in the Pakistani city of Karachi. The claim is false; the video in fact shows a hospital in the Indian city of Mumbai; Abbasi Shaheed Hospital also refuted the claim and said that they do not admit COVID-19 patients in general. 

7 May 2020

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421. Doctored photo is latest disinformation directed at Bill Gates amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Social media users have shared a photo that claims to show a “Center for Global Human Population Reduction” affiliated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The image, however, has been manipulated. The stone signage it captures is the foundation’s Discovery Center in Seattle, which is not home to a depopulation effort, nor are the Microsoft co-founder and his wife behind any such initiative.

6 May 2020

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420. This fabricated headline was added to a screenshot of a CNN interview

A photo shared hundreds of times on Facebook claims to show the American cable news channel CNN describing cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria as “false”, accusing the government of making them up to embezzle public funds. This is false: The image, taken from a CNN interview of New York's mayor, has been doctored and the false headline added to it. 

6 May 2020

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419. Footage of bodies at New York funeral home circulates with misleading claim in India

A video has been shared repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter in April 2020 alongside a claim it shows corpses in body bags at an apartment that is home to a New York-based Islamic group. The posts claim the victims died in the apartment after contracting the novel coronavirus because they ignored social distancing rules. The claims are misleading; the footage in fact shows body bags at an Islamic funeral home in New York during the coronavirus pandemic; a spokesperson for the mortuary told AFP that the deceased were people of many faiths.

6 May 2020

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418. These photos do not show improved air quality in Sri Lanka during the COVID-19 curfew, they are of the Philippine capital Manila

Three photos have been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim they show improved air quality in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo during a nationwide curfew implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the photos actually show the skyline of the Philippine capital Manila. 

6 May 2020

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417. This video shows a gathering at a mosque in Maharashtra before India announced a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown

A video of a group of men leaving a mosque has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter published in April 2020 alongside a claim it shows Muslims who gathered to pray in the Indian state of Gujarat in defiance of a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is misleading; the video has circulated in reports about a mosque gathering in the Indian state of Maharashtra one day before India announced a national lockdown.

6 May 2020

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416. This video of Boris Johnson has circulated in media reports since August 2018

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram alongside a claim it shows UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offering cups of tea to journalists after recovering from an illness. The posts were shared shortly after Johnson returned to work following hospital treatment for COVID-19. The claim in the social media posts is false; this video has circulated in media reports since August 2018, more than one year before the coronavirus pandemic and before Johnson became prime minister.

6 May 2020

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415. Misleading mask graphic claims to show exact chance of COVID-19 spread

Graphics shared thousands of times on social media claim to show the exact probability of COVID-19 carriers spreading the disease if they or another person wears a mask. The claim is misleading; experts say that while masks do decrease the risk, there is no reliable information on the specific chance of transmission.

5 May 2020

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414. This bill for medical services in Singapore was unrelated to COVID-19 treatment

A photo of a bill for more than SGD $180,000 (USD $128,000) from a Singapore hospital has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim the invoice was given to a coronavirus patient after treatment for the disease COVID-19. The claim is false; Singapore General Hospital (SGH) said the bill was for medical services unrelated to COVID-19; the photo was also taken from a fundraising campaign webpage for a woman who was described as suffering from illnesses unrelated to COVID-19.

5 May 2020

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413. This video shows a police drill in India during the coronavirus pandemic, it does not show police detaining people for failing to wear face masks

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook in April 2020 alongside a claim it shows police in India detaining people in a van carrying a COVID-19 patient after they failed to wear face masks outside. The claim is misleading; a spokesperson for India’s Tiruppur Police told AFP the video was staged for a police drill during the coronavirus pandemic; the video has previously circulated in media reports about a police drill in Tiruppur district.

5 May 2020

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412. This video has circulated since 2016 in reports about a noise complaint at a Mumbai mosque, it does not show a scene during the COVID-19 lockdown

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows a Muslim politician in India urging a police officer to open a mosque in order to allow people to pray during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is false; the video has actually circulated online since at least 2016 in reports about a noise complaint at a Mumbai mosque.

5 May 2020

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411. Hoax report circulates about University of Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial

A report circulating in Sri Lanka claims that a COVID-19 vaccine trial at the University of Oxford in England has been "successful". The purported news article, which has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, states 72 out of 100 COVID-19 patients recovered from the virus after receiving the vaccine. The claim is false; as of May 4, 2020, researchers said the trial was ongoing and only included people who have never tested positive for COVID-19; the purported report was published on a blog site named "CNN Lanka", which has no relationship to the US-based media channel CNN.  

4 May 2020

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410. Residents in the US state of Pennsylvania are advised, but not required, to take COVID-19 precautions

A Facebook post shared more than 29,000 times claims people in Pennsylvania who do not wear a face mask in public during the novel coronavirus pandemic risk a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. This is false; authorities in the US state recommend wearing face masks as a precaution, but say they will not penalize those who do not.

4 May 2020

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409. Trump makes false claims about COVID-19 testing

President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the United States conducted more testing for COVID-19 than all other countries combined, and suggested that the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama left behind “bad, broken tests.”

2 May 2020

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408. Canadian Muslims falsely accused of breaking COVID-19 distancing rules during Ramadan

Facebook posts accuse the Muslim community in Canada’s Calgary of breaking COVID-19 social distancing rules during Ramadan, using a photo of a crowded Islamic center as proof. This is false; the photo was taken during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in August 2019, and mosques in Calgary are closed.

1 May 2020

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407. The video shows an interfaith prayer in Italy in remembrance of COVID-19 victims, not a Koran recitation

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim it shows a Koran recitation in Italy as part of the government’s effort to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is misleading; the  footage shows an interreligious gathering held by the Diocese of Carpi in northern Italy to remember COVID-19 victims.

1 May 2020

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406. This rendition of the Indian national anthem was produced in August 2017 to mark India’s 71st Independence Day, not to thank the country for supplying hydroxychloroquine

A video of young adults singing the Indian national anthem has been shared on Facebook and Twitter during the COVID-19 pandemic alongside claims that it shows American students performing to thank India for supplying the US with hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that has been involved in clinical trials for potential COVID-19 treatment. The claim is false; this rendition of the Indian national anthem was produced in August 2017 to mark India’s 71st Independence Day.

1 May 2020

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405. These are test kits made in South Korea, not a 'cure' for COVID-19

Multiple posts shared thousands of times on Facebook claim that the United States has found a cure for the novel coronavirus. This is false; the pictures being shared are of rapid test kits made in South Korea, while the hunt for a cure continues.

30 April 2020

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404. Guinea has not ordered the arrest of all Chinese nationals

A video of a man rebuking foreigners has been viewed thousands of times on social media alongside a claim that the Guinean government has ordered the arrest of all Chinese nationals in the country while awaiting the safe return of Guineans from China. However, the video was actually recorded last year before the pandemic, and the Guinean government has not issued any such order.

30 April 2020

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403. This may not be the best time to visit a hair salon – but there is no proof they have caused almost half of coronavirus deaths

Posts shared hundreds of times on WhatsApp and Facebook claim that hair salons are responsible for almost 50 percent of all coronavirus deaths. There is no evidence to support the claim, which has been ascribed to a non-existent US health chief.

30 April 2020

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402. This photo has circulated in reports since 2013 about Muslims praying on a Sydney street

An image has been shared on Facebook in April 2020 alongside a claim that it shows Muslims praying on a street in the Australian city of Sydney. The image was shared as the city's residents continued to face stay-at-home orders during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Comments from some Facebook users on the misleading post indicated they believed the photo was taken during the lockdown restrictions, when in fact the photograph has circulated in reports since 2013 about people praying on a Sydney street during Ramadan. The same image has previously circulated with a misleading claim that it shows people praying on a street in the US.

30 April 2020

More here.

401. WHO warns against self-medicating for COVID-19 with aspirin, lemon juice and honey 'remedy'

Multiple Facebook posts claim that aspirin, lemon juice and honey have been combined to make a "home remedy" for COVID-19 in Italy. The claim is misleading; the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against self-medicating for COVID-19, saying there is no current medicine that can effectively treat the disease; official guidance released by the Italian Ministry of Health about the coronavirus does not mention the purported home remedy.

30 April 2020

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400. This photo has circulated in reports since 2013 about Muslims praying on a Sydney street, it does not show prayer during the COVID-19 lockdown

An image has been shared on Facebook in April 2020 alongside a claim that it shows Muslims praying on a street in the Australian city of Sydney. The image was shared as the city's residents continued to face stay-at-home orders during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Comments from some Facebook users on the misleading post indicated they believed the photo was taken during the lockdown restrictions, when in fact the photograph has circulated in reports since 2013 about people praying on a Sydney street during Ramadan. The same image has previously circulated with a misleading claim that it shows people praying on a street in the US.

30 April 2020

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399. This photo shows a nurse in India treating a man who sustained a leg injury, not one apologising to a Muslim man after accusing Muslims of spreading COVID-19

A photo has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows a nurse apologising to a Muslim man after she blamed the Muslim community for spreading COVID-19 in India. The posts claim the nurse was forced to apologise by a local politician. The claim is false; the nurse, the politician and local police all said the photo in fact shows a man receiving first aid after sustaining a laceration to his leg; additional photos and footage also show the man’s injury.

30 April 2020

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398. These photos have circulated online since at least 2015 – years before the COVID-19 pandemic

An image has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit alongside claims that it shows trucks carrying COVID-19 relief that were set on fire by rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. However, the image has been shared in a misleading context; it has circulated online since at least 2015 – years before the COVID-19 pandemic – in posts about supply trucks targeted by NPA rebels.

29 April 2020

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397. Eating papaya salad does not prevent COVID-19 infection, health experts say

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which claims that eating papaya salad can help to prevent infection from the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The claim is false; as of April 2020, health experts have said there is no evidence that papaya salad can prevent people from catching the virus; the World Health Organization (WHO) maintains that wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands regularly are the most effective methods of preventing infection. 

29 April 2020

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396. Footage of axe attack in Pakistan circulates as sectarian hoax in India after COVID-19 lockdown

A graphic video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows two Islamist extremists killing a Hindu man in the Indian state of Rajasthan during India’s COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is false; police in Pakistan and several media outlets report that the attack took place in Pakistan’s Punjab province in March 2020; people can be heard speaking in Punjabi in the video.

29 April 2020

More here.

395. Hoax text message circulated online about Australia's coronavirus contact-tracing app

An image has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook which claim it shows a government text message about a new coronavirus contact-tracing app in Australia. The claim is false; Australian authorities said the purported text message was a hoax; the Australian Federal Police said it had launched an investigation.

29 April 2020

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394. Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo refutes 'false' quote attributed to him about the novel coronavirus

Multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and on various websites have shared a purported quote about the novel coronavirus from Japanese physician Tasuku Honjo, the 2018 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The posts, shared thousands of times, quote Dr Honjo as stating that the virus is “not natural” and was “manufactured in China”, as well as stating he previously worked at a laboratory in Chinese city of Wuhan for four years. The claim is misleading; Dr Honjo said he never made the purported comments, dismissing the posts as “misinformation”; his biography on the Kyoto University website shows he has never held a position at a laboratory in China. 

29 April 2020

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393. These photos show victims of a deadly heatwave in 2015 that killed hundreds in Pakistan, not of COVID-19 victims

Three photos showing dozens of body bags have been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook which claim they show the bodies of COVID-19 victims in Pakistan. The claim is false; the photos in fact show covered corpses in Pakistan after a severe heatwave in 2015 that left hundreds dead.

29 April 2020

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392. This video shows the Philippine National Police conducting a training exercise, not shooting a man dead at a COVID-19 checkpoint

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows police shooting a man dead at a COVID-19 checkpoint in the Philippines. The claim is false; the Philippine National Police said that the video shows a “training drill”; a closer analysis of the footage shows the man moving several times shortly after the sound of a gunshot rings out.

28 April 2020

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391. Viral videos of Africans attacked in China were filmed years ago

Videos showing black people being attacked by Asian people have been shared thousands of times online in recent weeks. Although Africans living in China have reported discrimination linked to the coronavirus pandemic, AFP Fact Check found that various widely-shared clips were filmed years ago and have nothing to do with the virus.

28 April 2020

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390. The story of a NY funeral home employee accidentally being cremated during the COVID-19 pandemic was originally published on a satirical website

A claim that an overworked employee at a funeral home in New York City was accidentally cremated while taking a nap during the COVID-19 crisis has been shared repeatedly on blog sites, Facebook and Twitter. The claim is false; the claim originated from a satirical website; as of April 28, 2020, there were no credible reports that the story was based on a genuine incident; the photo used in some of the misleading social media and blog posts was taken from an unrelated media report.

28 April 2020

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389. Posts misrepresent eligibility for US COVID-19 stimulus payments

Social media posts claim that US citizens married to immigrants are not eligible for relief payments available to many Americans under the stimulus package aimed at countering the economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is misleading; the restriction only applies to citizens who file their taxes jointly with a spouse who does not have a valid Social Security number.

28 April 2020

More here.

388. Britain’s first coronavirus vaccine volunteer has not died after trial jab

An online report shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter claims that one of Britain’s first volunteers to be injected with a trial coronavirus vaccine has died. However, the claim is false, originating from a website with a history of spreading misinformation. The volunteer, herself, has dismissed the report, which was also denied by UK health officials and the scientists behind the trial. 

28 April 2020

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387. False claim circulates that Pakistani plane transported Sri Lankan students home after COVID-19 lockdown

A claim that Sri Lankan students were flown home by Pakistan after they were stranded during the county’s COVID-19 lockdown has been shared on Facebook and WhatsApp. The claim is false; a group of Sri Lankan students in Pakistan were flown home to Sri Lanka on a SriLankan Airlines flight on April 21, 2020. 

28 April 2020

More here.

386. This photo has circulated in reports about a market in Myanmar during the COVID-19 pandemic

An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows vendors observing social distancing guidance at a market in eastern Sri Lanka during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the photo has circulated online in reports about a market in Myanmar.

28 April 2020

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385. This photo shows Australia’s Bondi Beach in 2013, not one in South Africa during the COVID-19 lockdown

A photograph circulating on Facebook purports to be a screenshot from a TV news report showing a crowded beach in South Africa during the lockdown. The claim is false; the image has been doctored and actually shows Australia’s Bondi beach in 2013.

27 April 2020

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384. Fake hiring phone numbers shared online in US as unemployment surges

With the novel coronavirus sending the US economy into freefall, posts that list phone numbers for job seekers to call and find work have been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Instagram. But the numbers do not reach hiring hotlines as claimed and the companies mentioned recommend looking for job openings on their official websites.

27 April 2020

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383. Myth circulates online that COVID-19 symptoms progress in three distinct stages

Multiple Facebook posts shared hundreds of times claim patients infected with the novel coronavirus will experience respiratory symptoms that progress in severity in three distinct stages. The posts also prescribe purported home remedies for the disease, including eating garlic and gargling saltwater and vinegar. The claims are misleading; health experts have said COVID-19 symptoms vary from person-to-person; the purported coronavirus treatments listed in the posts have previously been debunked by AFP.

27 April 2020

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382. This video does not show US printing banknotes during the coronavirus pandemic -- it's from a television show that first aired in 1991

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Twitter and Weibo which claim it shows US banknotes being printed during the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The video has been shared in a misleading context; the clip was first broadcast in 1991 as part of a US television show, more than two decades before the COVID-19 pandemic.

27 April 2020

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381. Misleading claim circulates online about Wuhan's coronavirus death toll after lockdown eased

A post has been shared repeatedly on Facebook by Sri Lankan Facebook users that claims 1,290 people died from coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan after the city's lockdown was lifted on April 8, 2020. The posts claim that Sri Lanka should avoid lifting its own lockdown restrictions due to an upcoming election in order to avoid a similar spike in deaths. The claim is misleading; Chinese officials added 1,290 fatalities to Wuhan's coronavirus death toll after the city lifted restrictions on April 8, but said these were COVID-19 cases that were missed during the earlier lockdown.

24 April 2020

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380. Trump's idea to treat COVID-19 with disinfectant could cause deaths

US President Donald Trump has suggested studying the injection of disinfectant as a COVID-19 treatment. Medical experts and makers of the home cleaning product swiftly advised against it, pointing out that the chemicals cannot be absorbed by humans and warning that any ingestion could be fatal.

24 April 2020

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379. There is no evidence that eating alkaline foods can prevent or cure COVID-19

A post has been shared multiple times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that claims consuming foods with a pH level above the pH level of the novel coronavirus could cure or prevent infection from the COVID-19 disease. This claim is false; health experts say there is no evidence to support the claim; as of April 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no “cure” for COVID-19 and it “does not have sufficient data that an alkaline diet can protect specifically against COVID-19”. 

24 April 2020

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378. This video shows landmarks across China, but not Wuhan before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A video featuring aerial shots of futuristic skyscrapers, giant bridges and other landmarks has been shared thousands of times on Facebook with claims that it shows Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the novel coronavirus pandemic emerged in December 2019. However, AFP found the video is a compilation of shots from various Chinese cities but not Wuhan. 

24 April 2020

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377. This video shows FBI agents seizing masks from alleged price gouger, not contaminated masks

A video with thousands of shares and more than 1.5 million views on Facebook claims to show FBI agents seizing masks infected with the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the clip shows a raid on the home of a man in New York arrested for allegedly coughing on FBI agents while claiming to have COVID-19 and lying to them about hoarding and selling medical supplies.

24 April 2020

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376. Coronavirus pandemic triggers wave of Islamic-themed myths on social media

The spread of the novel coronavirus has triggered a torrent of misinformation on social media globally. Myths circulated online include crackpot cures for COVID-19 and conspiracy theories about its alleged origins. In the Islamic world, fact checkers have also observed a trend for social media posts containing false religious-themed claims about the virus. As of April 2020, AFP has debunked scores of misleading posts on this topic.

24 April 2020

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375. No evidence that 5G radiation is harmful to human health, experts say

A graphic purporting to detail health risks due to 5G-induced radiation has been published on various websites and shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter. The image was shared as other hoaxes circulated claiming that COVID-19 is linked to the global rollout of 5G networks. The claim is misleading; radiation experts and health authorities maintain there is no evidence to suggest that the radiation emitted from 5G is harmful to human health.

24 April 2020

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374. This photo does not show Muslims praying on rooftops in India during the COVID-19 lockdown

A photo of dozens of men praying on neighbouring rooftops has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows Muslim worshippers in India praying together in defiance of the country’s COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is false; the photo in fact shows people praying in Dubai.

24 April 2020

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373. This photo has circulated in reports about Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia

A photo has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows labourers stranded in the western Indian state of Gujarat during a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is false; this photo has circulated online since November 2019, months before India imposed its lockdown; it has circulated in reports about Bangladeshi migrants at an immigration office in Malaysia.

24 April 2020

More here.

372. Posts target parents with misleading COVID-19 hospital visit rules

Facebook posts claim children infected with the novel coronavirus will be taken to hospitals unaccompanied, and that parents will not be allowed to visit. This is misleading; many hospitals have prohibited visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, but across Canada medical facilities have exceptions allowing a parent or guardian to be with pediatric patients.

23 April 2020

More here.

371. This footage shows people praying in Brazil -- not Italy -- during the COVID-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook in April 2020 which claim it shows people praying on a street in Italy during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the footage in fact shows people praying outside a church in Brazil during the COVID-19 crisis.

23 April 2020

More here.

370. This is not a video of doctors trying on faultry gowns made in China; it's of French-made medical gowns that were damaged in storage

A video of hospital workers in France putting on tattered protective gowns has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that the garments were made in China. The claim is false; the hospital authority in the French city of Marseille said the protective gear in the video was produced in France and became damaged due to improper storage.

23 April 2020

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369. This photo does not show Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte carrying out duties 

A photo has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts in April 2020 alongside a claim it shows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte carrying out presidential duties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is false; this photo has circulated in news reports since 2017 about the president’s visit to Marawi, a war-torn city in the country’s south that was then besieged by militants.

23 April 2020

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368. This graphic with a purported quote from a top administration official in the Philippines has been doctored

A graphic with a purported quote from former Philippine presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo has been shared in multiple Facebook posts. The graphic, which appears to have been published by Philippine news outlet Inquirer.net, claims that Panelo said the poor are to blame for being unable to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this claim is false; the graphic was doctored to include the quote and was disowned by the Inquirer, which called on social media users not to share "manipulated" images.

23 April 2020

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367. This video does not show a Muslim man spitting on police after a scuffle at an Indian coronavirus quarantine center. It has circulated in reports weeks before the incident

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows a Muslim man spitting at Indian police officers after being detained over scuffles at a coronavirus quarantine centre in April 2020. The claim is misleading; the video has circulated in reports since at least February 2020, weeks before the incident at the coronavirus quarantine centre; local police told AFP the video shows an incident in February 2020 and is unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

23 April 2020

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366. This video does not show protesters in Italy chanting "Allahu Akbar" during the COVID-19 pandemic

A video has been viewed more than one million times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok which claim it shows people in Italy chanting “Allahu Akbar” and seeking “help from Allah” during the coronavirus pandemic . The claim is false: the video was taken in the German city of Hamburg; it corresponds with reports about a January 2020 protest over the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China. 

23 April 2020

More here.

365. South Africa’s education department says the 2020 school year can still be saved

Social media posts shared in South Africa claim that children in grades 1 to 11 will be promoted after the school year was cancelled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claims are false and started circulating after an education expert called for an end to the academic year, an idea rejected by the Department of Basic Education.

22 April 2020

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364. Online coronavirus scams spread in Nigeria amid lockdowns

African countries including Nigeria are experiencing an increase in the number of fraudulent activities on social media as internet fraudsters embark on scamming sprees amid the coronavirus pandemic. AFP Fact Check has rounded up some of the most popular online claims fabricated to exploit unsuspecting internet users in the continent.

22 April 2020

More here.

363. This video shows FBI agents raiding a private home, not a synagogue

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raiding a synagogue that was used to hoard face masks and other medical equipment. The claim is misleading; the raid took place at a private home in New York City, not a synagogue.

22 April 2020

More here.

362. False advice on refusing vaccines circulates during COVID-19 pandemic in the US, Canada and Australia

Facebook posts shared in at least three countries as scientists work to develop a COVID-19 vaccine claim to offer a legal way to refuse vaccination. The claims are false; immunization is not compulsory in most Australian states and Canadian provinces, while exemptions can be obtained in the United States as well as Canada’s Ontario and New Brunswick.

22 April 2020

More here.

361. This picture shows the work of a make-up artist, not an infected hand

A photograph shared thousands of times on Facebook purports to show the blister-covered hand of a patient suffering from a new disease. The gruesome picture is in fact the creation of a make-up artist and medical experts told AFP the claim was “nonsense”.

22 April 2020

More here.

360. 5G deal between UK and Chinese tech company Huawei has not been cancelled

Multiple posts on social media in Nigeria claim that the United Kingdom terminated a deal with Chinese tech company Huawei after receiving contaminated coronavirus test kits. This is false; the UK has made no such move while the tainted test kits came from Luxembourg.

22 April 2020

More here.

359. This video shows monkeys swimming in a pool in India, not Pakistan, during the COVID-19 lockdown

A video of monkeys swimming in a pool has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it was filmed was shot in the Pakistani capital during a COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is false; the video actually shows monkeys enjoying a swim at a hotel in India during the COVID-19 lockdown.

22 April 2020

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358. This is not a video of deer on a beach during the COVID-19 pandemic

A video of a deer running along a beach has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it was filmed on a beach in Spain during the COVID-19 lockdown. Other posts claimed the clip was filmed in Sri Lanka or India during COVID-19 lockdowns in April 2020. The claims are false; the video has circulated online since at least 2015 in reports about a scene captured by a French filmmaker in France.

22 April 2020

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357. Misleading coronavirus information falsely attributed to Johns Hopkins

Social media posts attribute a list of points about the novel coronavirus to Johns Hopkins, a leading source of information on the virus. But the US university’s medical program said it is not the source of the claims, and while some are accurate, experts say others contain false or misleading information.

22 April 2020

More here.

356. Trump did not post this tweet about H1N1 pandemic in 2009

Posts shared more than 2,000 times on social media appear to show a 2009 tweet from Donald Trump criticizing then-president Barack Obama’s handling of the H1N1 pandemic and placing “ALL responsibility” on presidents in a crisis. This is false; the fabricated tweet has more characters than was allowed in 2009 and it does not appear in Twitter archives.

22 April 2020

More here.

355. Children with COVID-19 in the US do not have to be hospitalized alone

Facebook posts claim a child who is infected with the novel coronavirus will be taken to a hospital unaccompanied. This is misleading; many hospitals have prohibited visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, but even facilities in heavily-affected states have exceptions allowing a parent or caregiver to be with pediatric patients.

22 April 2020

More here.

354. Hoax circulates that viral outbreaks are linked to new telecommunication technologies

A hoax claim has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter that certain viral outbreaks in the last 100 years aligned with the introduction of new telecommunications technologies. The posts suggest that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is linked to the rollout of 5G mobile phone technology. The claim is false; health authorities and technology experts maintain telecommunication technologies have no relationship with the creation or spread of viruses.   

22 April 2020

More here.

353. Burundi did not receive COVID-19 vaccines from China; a vaccine does not yet exist for the disease (as of April 21)

A post shared on Facebook and WhatsApp claims that China has sent COVID-19 vaccines to Burundi. The claim is false; China did donate medical supplies to the eastern African nation, but not vaccines, which do not exist yet for the disease.

21 April 2020

More here.

352. Albanian news anchors did not go 'topless' during the COVId-19 crisis. The broadcast aired years before the pandemic

A video of two Albanian female news anchors wearing revealing jackets on-air has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Twitter alongside a claim that they dressed promiscuously in a bid to persuade people to stay indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is false; the footage first aired on an Albanian TV channel years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

21 April 2020

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351. The World Bank did not praise Tanzania’s anti-coronavirus policies

Articles claiming the World Bank has applauded Tanzania’s anti-coronavirus policies have been widely shared, with one attracting thousands of interactions on Facebook. The publications claim the East African country was singled out for praise in a report for implementing “unique policies” in the fight against the novel coronavirus. But the report does not include any such mention and the World Bank has denied specifically highlighting Tanzania’s COVID-19 response.

21 April 2020

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350. This photo was taken from the US television series "The Walking Dead" -- it is not an image of elderly COVID-19 victims euthanised by the government

A photo purporting to show a man walking through scores of corpses has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it shows that countries with high COVID-19 death tolls are euthanising elderly patients. The claim is false; the photo was taken from the US television horror series The Walking Dead; as of April 2020, there were no credible reports that governments were euthanising COVID-19 patients during the pandemic.

21 April 2020

More here.

349. Misinformation about fines in Singapore circulated online before face masks made mandatory in public

Multiple posts have been shared on Facebook in early April 2020 claiming that Singapore introduced fines of up to SGD$150 for anyone not wearing a face mask outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is misleading; on April 14, 2020, the Singaporean government announced fines of up to SGD$1,000 for those not wearing a mask outside during the pandemic; face masks had not been made mandatory in public and no fines were imposed in Singapore at the time the misleading claim was circulating online. 

21 April 2020

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348. This late pharmacist's husband and local Indian authorities said her death was not the result of pandemic-related violence

A photo of a woman lying in a hospital bed with medical equipment attached to her body has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside claims that the woman was a doctor who died after being beaten by a Muslim mob while trying to administer novel coronavirus tests. The claim is false; the late woman's husband and local police told AFP the woman's death was not the result of pandemic-related violence. 

20 April 2020

More here.

347. Philippine regulators have not approved an 'immunity booster' supplement for COVID-19

An advertisement promoting a vitamin supplement that purportedly boosts immunity against COVID-19 has been shared in multiple Facebook posts. The advert includes a stamp that appears to show the product was approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the claim is false; the FDA said the product is unregistered and warned the public against “deceptive marketing” related to COVID-19, and the regulatory agency ordered the product’s manufacturers to halt “misleading advertisements” or face sanctions.

20 April 2020

More here.

346. Kenya governor quotes non-existent WHO research to defend alcohol donations

A video of Nairobi governor Mike Sonko claiming the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends drinking alcohol to help prevent the new coronavirus is circulating online. The claim is false; the WHO has, in fact, warned the public against excessive alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

20 April 2020

More here.

345. Misleading claim circulates on social media that pet owners should avoid touching animals after using hand sanitiser

Multiple Facebook posts shared thousands of times in April 2020 claim pet owners should avoid touching their animals after using hand sanitiser because it contains toxic chemicals. The posts were shared as people around the world took steps to minimise the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. The claim in the posts is misleading; experts told AFP that hand sanitiser is safe to use around pets and only large amounts of it could be potentially toxic to animals.

20 April 2020

More here.

344. This photo does not show throat infected with novel coronavirus

A photo shared thousands of times on Facebook claims to show the throat of a novel coronavirus patient. The claim is false; the image has circulated online since May of 2018, long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

20 April 2020

More here.

343. False claim circulates online that image shows starving Indian family who committed suicide during COVID-19 lockdown

An image has been shared thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook alongside a claim it shows the bodies of an Indian family who committed suicide after running out of food during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is false; the photo has circulated online since June 2019 in reports about a murder-suicide in India’s Karnataka state, months before COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.

20 April 2020

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342. Disposable surgical masks are not reversible

A post shared thousands of times on Facebook during the COVID-19 pandemic says disposable surgical masks should be worn “colored side out” if a person is sick. The claim is false; surgical masks are not reversible, a major US manufacturer of the products says.

20 April 2020

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341. A video of an Italian woman who committed suicide after contracting COVID-19? The footage is from an Algerian TV drama

A video has been viewed hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows an Italian woman who committed suicide after contracting COVID-19. The claim is false; the video is a scene that was filmed for an Algerian TV drama, produced months before the COVID-19 pandemic.

20 April 2020

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340. 'Riot' at a Malaysian customs office after Singapore's COVID-19 travel ban? The footage was shot in December 2019

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows Malaysian nationals storming a customs office in the Malaysian state of Johor after Singapore closed its borders in an effort to curb the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is false; Malaysian immigration authorities said the video was taken during an annual safety drill in December 2019; the video corresponded with photos of the drill published in December 2019 by police and local officials. 

20 April 2020

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339. Myth spreads online that Australian supermarkets have banned Chinese nationals during COVID-19 pandemic

A video that shows an argument between shoppers at an Australian department store has been viewed tens of thousands of times in Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim that Chinese nationals have been banned from supermarkets in Australia. The claim is false; major Australian supermarket chains told AFP there was no policy that bans Chinese people from their stores as of April 2020; the video in the misleading posts has circulated in media reports about a dispute in an Australian supermarket over baby formula.

20 April 2020

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338. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is not alone in saying that the hydroxychloroquine drug has not been proven as treatment for COVID-19

Social media posts shared tens of thousands of times claim White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci stands alone in insisting hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness against COVID-19 is unproven, while Italy, France, Spain and Brazil say it “works.” This is false; health authorities in these countries say data on this treatment is “preliminary” and “not yet conclusive.”

19 April 2020

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337. A video of Nigerians scrambling for food during the coronavirus lockdown? The footage was taken months before the pandemic

A video shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram purports to show hundreds of Nigerians scrambling for food amid a lockdown prompted by the novel coronavirus. However, the footage has been circulating on social media since at least March 2019, months before the start of the pandemic.

17 April 2020

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336. Fake phone helplines in US provide offers of phone sex instead of tracking stimulus payments

Thousands of Facebook users in the United States are sharing 1-800 numbers that are supposed to help track stimulus payments promised by the federal government under a novel coronavirus economic aid package. The phone numbers, however, are not government hotlines, but were instead first shared as April Fools’ jokes, and greet callers with offers of phone sex.

17 April 2020

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335. Zinc and tonic are not 'cures' for COVID-19

Social media posts recommend tonic water and zinc as a cure for a novel coronavirus infection, as the drink contains quinine, whose synthetic relative hydroxychloroquine is on trial as a COVID-19 treatment. The claim is false; quinine in tonic water is too diluted to have any effect, and there are no drugs proven to cure the disease.

17 April 2020

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334. A photo of COVID-19 victims? No, the image shows victims of the 2004 tsunami in Thailand

A photo has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows bodies of those killed by COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the image is actually an Associated Press photo which shows victims of the December 26, 2004 tsunami in Thailand. The disaster, which became known as the Boxing Day tsunami, devastated more than a dozen countries.

17 April 2020

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333. Video of a Koran recitation at the US Senate during the COVID-19 pandemic? The footage is from an interfaith prayer service at a church in 2017

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube in March and April 2020 alongside a claim it shows a Koran recitation during a US Senate meeting attended by President Donald Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is false; the video actually shows Trump attending an interfaith prayer service at a church after his presidential inauguration in January 2017.

17 April 2020

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332. A photo of food parcels for Rwanda during the COVID-19 crisis? The image was taken before the pandemic

A widely shared picture purports to show food earmarked for distribution to families in Rwanda ahead of a coronavirus lockdown. This is false; the image has been circulating online since at least May 2019. Former World Bank chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was among those who fell for the hoax, sharing the photo with her 1.1 million Twitter followers. 

17 April 2020

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331. A video showing Muslims praying on the street in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic? The footage is from a protest in New York City in 2017

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim it shows Muslims in the US praying on a street during the coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the footage has circulated online since February 2017; it corresponds with other footage in reports about a February 2017 protest in New York City against President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

17 April 2020

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330. This video does not show a temple that Indian authorities turned into a COVID-19 quarantine center, it's a lodging facility

A video has been shared in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts in April 2020 alongside a claim it shows a temple in India that was turned into a COVID-19 quarantine centre by the state government. The claim is false; the footage in fact shows a lodging facility, which is adjacent to a temple, that was repurposed as a COVID-19 quarantine centre during the pandemic.

17 April 2020

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329. A video of a freight train carrying aid during the COVID-19 lockdown in India? The footage has circulated since at least 2009 -- more than a decade before the pandemic

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in posts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that claim it shows a freight train carrying essential commodities for those in COVID-19 lockdown in India. This claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least November 2009 and actually shows a regular goods train service in India. 

17 April 2020

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328. A photo of an Italian COVId-19 victim holding her baby for the last time? The image has circulated in reports about an infant awaiting a marrow transplant in 1985

A photo has been shared thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim it shows an Italian mother holding her baby for the last time after becoming terminally ill with COVID-19. The claim is false; the photo has circulated in reports about a child who was awaiting a marrow transplant in 1985 in the US.

16 April 2020

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327. A video of Brazilians participating in a COVID-19 vigil after Indian PM called for 'solidarity?' The footage predates Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for COVID-19 vigils

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows Brazilians participating in a candlelit vigil after India's Prime Minister called for people to hold "solidarity" vigils on April 3, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is false; the video was published online in reports about an event in Brazil before Modi’s calls for solidarity.

16 April 2020

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326. These images show delivery of China’s medical supplies in Ghana, not Nigeria

Multiple posts shared with pictures of an aircraft delivering supplies claim to show the delivery of coronavirus vaccines from China to a Nigerian airport. This is false; the images were taken in Accra, Ghana, and show Chinese aid deliveries of medical supplies to 18 African countries -- including Nigeria.

16 April 2020

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325. Video showing a fight between Kenyans and Chinese in Wuhan, China? The footage was filmed in New York

After the African Union expressed concerns about discrimination against Africans in Guangzhou, a video started circulating on Facebook and Twitter that purports to show a Kenyan couple involved in a fist fight with a Chinese couple in Wuhan. This claim is false: The video was in fact filmed in the Bronx district of New York in front of an Asian restaurant.

16 April 2020

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324. This graphic with a purported quote from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been doctored

A graphic attributed to the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA) that features a purported quote from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook. The graphic claims that Duterte said the government has completed distributing cash assistance to those affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. But the graphic has been doctored; it has been manipulated to include the purported Duterte quote and has been disowned by the PNA.

16 April 2020

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323. White House holds 'blessing ceremony' for Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic? The video shows President Trump with a US pastor at a White House event in September 2017

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts which claim it shows the secretary of Pope Francis holding a “blessing ceremony” for US President Trump at the White House during the COVID-19 pandemic. This claim is false; the video was first published online in September 2017 and shows Trump at the White House with Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Dallas Church and a member of the president’s evangelical advisory board.

16 April 2020

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322. This video has circulated in reports about Pakistani police and security forces conducting a training drill at a quarantine centre

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows Pakistani security forces apprehending three men after they escaped from a COVID-19 quarantine centre. The claim is misleading; the footage has circulated in reports about a joint training exercise by Pakistani security forces and police outside a COVID-19 quarantine facility.

16 April 2020

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321. Nigeria’s ex-vice president didn't promise to pay citizens to stay home during virus outbreak

An article shared thousands of times in multiple social media posts in Nigeria claims former vice president Atiku Abubakar pledged to pay 10,000 naira ($27) to every Nigerian to help them through the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; Abubakar's spokesman rejected it as "fake news" and the story originated from a website with a history of spreading misinformation.

15 April 2020

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320. No scientific evidence that neem leaves can 'cure’ COVID-19 and its symptoms, doctors say

A claim that neem leaves can cure the novel coronavirus and relieve its symptoms has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts. The claim is false; Malaysia’s Ministry of Health and medical experts say there is no scientific evidence to support the claim. International health authorities also say there is no cure for COVID-19 as of April 2020.

15 April 2020

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319. Philippine authorities warn anti-viral injection has not yet been approved for treating COVID-19

Multiple Facebook posts claim an anti-viral injection that was being developed in the Philippines in April 2020 is a cure for COVID-19. The claim is misleading; the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the purported treatment has not been licensed and warned against its use until it is “proven safe and effective” by regulators; the World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no "cure" for COVID-19 as of April 2020.

15 April 2020

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318. US Democrats did vote for legislation to combat the novel coronavirus crisis

Posts on social media claim that no Democrats voted for the “the stimulus package to help American families” during the novel coronavirus crisis. This is misleading; Democrats overwhelmingly backed two bills aimed at countering the virus and its fallout, and while senators from the party blocked an initial proposal for the third, they voted unanimously for a later version.

15 April 2020

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317. South Sudan's chief justice and his family tested negative for COVID-19 (as of April 15)

A WhatsApp message circulating in South Sudan claims the chief justice’s son is critically ill with COVID-19. However, the health ministry said the senior official and his family tested negative for the disease, and his daughter told AFP he doesn’t have a son going by the name quoted in social media posts.

15 April 2020

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316. New hoax circulates online that India has outlawed social media posts about COVID-19

A claim has been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter posts that the Indian government has outlawed social media posts about the novel coronavirus pandemic through a piece of national legislation called the Disaster Management Act. The claim is false; Indian officials said the posts were “misleading and false”; AFP found two of the purported sections of the law cited in the misleading posts do not exist under the act and the other does not mention a social media ban related to COVID-19 content.

15 April 2020

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315. Hoax circulates online that an old Indian textbook lists treatments for COVID-19

A photo has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that an Indian textbook published more than three decades ago lists possible treatments for COVID-19 patients. The claim is misleading; the textbook refers to coronavirus as a family of viruses, not the new strain detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. As of April 15, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) says no specific medicine has been discovered which will treat or prevent COVID-19.

15 April 2020

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314. Sri Lankan health authorities said COVID-19 survivor sought shelter at a relative's home after consulting with them

A claim that a COVID-19 survivor in Sri Lanka violated an official home quarantine order has been shared widely on Facebook. The claim is misleading; multiple government health officials and the patient himself told AFP that he sought shelter at his sister’s residence, as agreed with health officials, because he was locked out of his own home.

15 April 2020

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313. A video of a family of five devastated by COVID-19? No, the footage uses stock images

A video advertisement on Facebook encourages people to buy face masks for protection, as the novel coronavirus takes a deadly toll worldwide. The clip is misleading; it claims to show a family devastated by infection, as well as the doctor who invented the mask it is trying to sell, but the images are stock footage.

15 April 2020

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312. Video of panic buying in Malaysia during the COVID-19 pandemic? This video has circulated online in reports about Black Friday shopping in Brazil in November 2019

A video of people storming into a store has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook alongside a claim the video shows people panic buying in Malaysia during the country’s novel coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; this video has circulated online in reports about shoppers on Black Friday, an annual day of sales, at a store in Brazil in November 2019, weeks before the novel coronavirus was first detected in China.

15 April 2020

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311. Newspaper claims Indian Muslim leader donated to Indian PM's COVID-19 relief fund? This image of a newspaper front page has been doctored

A purported image of a daily newspaper in Northern Ireland has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows a front page story about an Indian Muslim leader donating to the Indian Prime Minister’s novel coronavirus relief fund. The claim is false; the image has been doctored to include the fabricated story; there are no credible media reports that the Muslim leader cited in the misleading posts made any donation to the fund.

15 April 2020

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310. COVID pandemic: misinformation spreads in Thailand about police powers to fine people who fail to wear face masks in public

A claim was shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and Line Messenger in March 2020 that police in Thailand could issue fines to anyone who does not wear a face mask in public during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; Thai legal experts told AFP there was no law in the country that allowed police to fine people for not wearing face masks as of March 2020; Thai police issued several statements calling the claims “fake news”.

14 April 2020

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309. This video shows Afghan nationals leaving Pakistan during a temporary opening of the border

A video of hundreds of people crossing a border has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim it shows people from Afghanistan entering Pakistan without being tested for the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the video in fact shows Afghan nationals leaving Pakistan after the border was temporarily opened in early April in order to allow Afghans to return home. 

14 April 2020

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308. Musicians reciting God's names during the COVID-19 outbreak in New Zealand? This video shows a choir concert in Turkey in 2011

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows musicians from various religious backgrounds reciting the names of God in Islam during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the video shows a choir singing at a concert in Turkey in 2011. 

14 April 2020

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307. Video showing Muslim men licking crockery during the COVID-19 pandemic? This 2018 video shows Bohra Muslims practicing dining etiquette in Mumbai

A video has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it shows Muslims spreading the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, by smearing saliva on plates and utensils in the Indian city of Delhi. This claim is false; the video actually shows Bohra Muslims practicing their zero-waste dining etiquette in Mumbai, India in 2018.

14 April 2020

More here.

306. These photos circulated online before the Philippines imposed a lockdown on its main island

Three photos have been shared in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim they show an anti-government protest in the Philippines staged during a lockdown implemented to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The claim is false; the photos circulated online at least one month before the Philippine government imposed a lockdown on its main island due to the coronavirus pandemic.

14 April 2020

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305. Misinformation circulates online about Malaysia's coronavirus relief package for its citizens

A claim has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook that Malaysia has started distributing monthly compensation of 8,000 Thai baht (245 USD) to its citizens and has waived their electricity bills as part of a six-month relief package during the novel coronavirus crisis. The claim is misleading; as of April 2020, Malaysia’s coronavirus relief measures provided one-off payments as part of a means-tested financial assistance package; the measures included subsidised electricity bills for six months but did not waive them altogether. 

14 April 2020

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304. False ‘facts’ on USPS finances resurface on Facebook amid dispute over funding through the novel coronavirus crisis

A dispute between Congress and the Trump administration over funding to help the United States Postal Service (USPS) through the novel coronavirus led tens of thousands of people to share an old Facebook post claiming that the agency is not losing money and has no debt. This is false; the USPS had a net loss of $8.8 billion in 2019, and its total liabilities exceed $97 billion, according to official disclosures.

14 April 2020

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303. A video showing Italian doctors who contracted COVID-19 while treating patients? No, the footage shows a scene from a Mexican television drama

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts which claim it shows two Italian doctors who contracted novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, while treating patients. The claim is false; the footage was taken from the 2010 Mexican television programme “Triunfo del Amor”.

14 April 2020

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302. A video of a detector dog assaulted during a COVID-19 patrol? No, the footage was online at least a year before the novel coronavirus outbreak

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times in posts on Facebook, YouTube, Douyin and Weibo purporting to show a detector dog after it was assaulted during a security check amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The video has been shared in a misleading context; it has circulated online since December 2018, at least a year before the novel coronavirus was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

14 April 2020

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301. Photo shows Mexico’s president, not Joe Biden, kissing child

Facebook posts shared thousands of times claim a photo shows Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden kissing a child, criticizing him for doing so. This is false; the man pictured is Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

13 April 2020

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300. Video of a satanic creature atop an Italian church? No, the footage shows computer-generated imagery superimposed on a cathedral in Nicaragua

A video purportedly shows a winged creature atop the dome of a structure has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube alongside a claim that it shows “the image of a devil” on the roof of a church in Italy.  This claim is false; the "creature" is a computer-generated image superimposed on footage of the Cathedral of Granada in Nicaragua.

13 April 2020

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299. A video showing a gay party in Italy ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak? No, the footage shows a carnival in Brazil in 2018

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts shared thousands of times show a video of crowds at a music event. Comments say the footage shows the “last gay conference” in Italy before the coronavirus outbreak. The clip is actually from a carnival in Brazil in February 2018, two years before Italy’s first confirmed COVID-19 case.

13 April 2020

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298. Beijing and Shanghai have not been untouched by COVID-19

A claim that the novel coronavirus was never detected in the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The claim is false; both Beijing and Shanghai, China’s two most populous cities, have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths since January 2020.

13 April 2020

More here.

297. A photo of Italian medics who died of COVID-19? No, the image is from the US medical TV drama "Grey's Anatomy"

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows doctors and nurses in Italy who died from COVID-19. The claim is false; the photo is in fact a still from the American medical television series Grey's Anatomy.

13 April 2020

More here.

296. The World Health Organization (WHO) did not issue this 'protocol' for COVID-19 lockdown

A post has been shared multiple times on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter by India-based users alongside a claim that the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued guidelines on COVID-19 lockdown. This claim is false; both the WHO and Indian officials clarified that the "protocol" is fake. 

13 April 2020

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295. A photo of a Nigerian actress serving punishment for partying during the coronavirus lockdown? The image is of a waste management officer that's been circulating since 2018

A photograph has been shared hundreds of times in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts with claims that it shows Nigerian movie star Funke Akindele Bello picking up waste in the street as a punishment for throwing a party during the COVID-19 lockdown. The claim is false; the photo was first published online long before the pandemic and shows a waste management officer.

10 April 2020

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294. South Africa leader did not ask foreigners to leave the country due to COVID-19

Dozens of posts shared hundreds of times on Facebook and WhatsApp claim that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told foreigners to leave the country to minimise the spread of the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; he has made no such announcement and the Department of Home Affairs refuted the claim.

10 April 2020

More here.

293. How to spot COVID-19 misinformation on WhatsApp

AFP has debunked multiple claims shared millions of times on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease in December 2019. But with over 65 billion messages sent worldwide every day, WhatsApp, one of the biggest platforms for sharing misinformation in Africa, remains a challenge. AFP fact checkers explain how you can spot false COVID-19 claims on WhatsApp.

10 April 2020

More here.

292. A video of spooky drone deployed in Australia to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown? The footage has circulated online since at least 2016 about a prank in Brazil

A video of a ghost-like drone scaring people off the street has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Weibo alongside a claim that the footage shows a drone being used to enforce social distancing during the novel coronavirus pandemic in the Australian city of Brisbane. The claim is false; the video was published online in 2016 in a post about a prank in São Paulo, Brazil.

10 April 2020

More here.

291. Nigeria did not spend 1 billion naira on a COVID-19 text message awareness campaign

A screenshot of a web publication has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that claim the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said it spent a billion naira ($2.78 million) on COVID-19 text message awareness campaign. However, this is false; the claim stemmed from a fabricated tweet, and was denied by Nigeria’s health authorities.

10 April 2020

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290. Senegalese children did not die from a coronavirus vaccine (which does not yet exist)

A Facebook post shared thousands of times claims seven children died in Senegal after being given a COVID-19 vaccine. This is false; scientists are still working to find a vaccine and Senegal’s health ministry told AFP the incident never happened. The video in the post actually shows people gathering after they heard rumours that a door-to-door salesman was vaccinating locals.

10 April 2020

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289. Police officer beating in Indian temple after trying to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown? No, the footage was uploaded to an Indian wrestling-themed YouTube channel in June 2019

A video purports to show a police officer being beaten has been viewed tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that the assault at a temple in India was sparked by the officer's attempt to enforce a nationwide novel coronavirus lockdown. The claim is false; the footage was taken from a video of a staged fight that was uploaded to a wrestling-themed YouTube channel in June 2019.

10 April 2020

More here.

288. Philippine hospital has not found correlation between grocery shopping and COVID-19 among its novel coronavirus patients (as of April 10). 

A claim that data from a hospital in the Philippines shows a correlation between grocery shopping and COVID-19 has been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook and Twitter. This is misleading; the hospital refuted the claim, saying "no such observed trend" had been found among its COVID-19 patients.

10 April 2020

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287. Video showing bodies of COVID-19 victims who committed suicide in the US? The footage first appeared in 2014 reports about migrants who drowned off the Libyan coast

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Weibo and Twitter that claim it shows people who committed suicide in the US after getting COVID-19. The claim is false; the video was published in 2014 news reports about a group of migrants who died after a boat sank off the coast of Libya.

10 April 2020

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286. Non-profit hospital in Pakistan refutes misleading claim it charged patients for COVID-19 tests

A claim that a charitable hospital in Pakistan charged patients for novel coronavirus tests has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter. But the claim is misleading; the hospital, which was founded by Prime Minister Imran Khan, denied charging a fee, saying in a statement that eligible patients have been receiving free tests; the health minister of Punjab also denied the claim.

10 April 2020

More here.

285. Video of soldiers beating Nigerians for flouting COVID-19 lockdown? No, old footage of police offiers in Ghana

A video showing law enforcement officers beating civilians is being shared on Facebook and WhatsApp in Nigeria, with claims that it shows Nigerian soldiers beating citizens while enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown in the country. This is false; the video is old and shows police officers carrying out a beating in Ghana.

9 April 2020

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284. No, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth did not mention the Philippines in her speech on the novel coronavirus

A graphic has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter alongside a claim that it contains a quote from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth in which she praises Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for his efforts to curb the novel coronavirus pandemic. The posts allege that the Queen made the remarks during her televised speech on April 6, 2020. However, the claim is false; Duterte was not mentioned in the Queen’s address and the image has been doctored from another graphic that contains a genuine quote by the Queen.

9 April 2020

More here.

283. This is not a photo of two nurses treating COVID-19 patients in Italy

A photo of a couple locked in an intimate embrace with their face masks lowered has been shared in Facebook posts that claim they were nurses who were treating COVID-19 patients in an Italian hospital. This is false, the photo was taken by an Associated Press photographer at Barcelona’s airport.

9 April 2020

More here.

282. UAE Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi did not ban the burial of COVID-19 victims in Sharjah in April 2020

A claim has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter in Sri Lanka that the ruler of Sharjah, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), banned burials of people who died after contracting the novel coronavirus.  The claim is false; the UAE Embassy in Sri Lanka refuted the claim and said Sharjah ruler's Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi only said that novel coronavirus vicitms should not be buried in one specific location in Sharjah. 

9 April 2020

More here.

281. French doctor did not urge Africans to avoid a “Bill Gates vaccine”

A post shared hundreds of times on Facebook claims that Didier Raoult, a French specialist in infectious diseases, is urging Africans “not to take Bill Gates vaccine” against coronavirus as it contains “poison”. This is false: the institute which Raoult directs denied he ever made these claims; moreover, no vaccine yet exists against coronavirus.

9 April 2020

More here.

280. Hoax circulates online that people wearing shoes indoors triggered hike in COVID-19 cases in Italy

A post has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and on messaging app Line that claims Italy suffered a spike in novel coronavirus infections as a direct result of Italian citizens wearing shoes in their homes. The claim is misleading; health experts told AFP that wearing shoes indoors cannot directly cause COVID-19 infections; doctors recommend adopting thorough personal hygeine routines to lower the risk of COVID-19 infection.

9 April 2020

More here.

279. A video of a 'first Islamic call to prayer in Spain in 500 years' during the coronavirus pandemic? The footage was filmed in Azerbaijan in November 2019 and there has been no ban on the Islamic call to prayer in Spain in recent times

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook, YouTube and Twitter posts alongside a claim it shows the Islamic call to prayer being heard in Spain during the COVID-19 epidemic for the first time in 500 years. The claim is false; the video was filmed in Azerbaijan in November 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic; there has been no ban on the Islamic call to prayer in Spain in recent times. 

9 April 2020

More here.

278. Video shows Indian activist being arrested after buying alcohol during the COVID-19 lockdown? No, the footage circulated about Trupti Desai's arrest in September, 2019

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter in April 2020 alongside a claim it shows the arrest of Indian activist Trupti Desai after she attempted to buy alcohol during a government-imposed lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The claim is false; this video has circulated in reports about Desai's arrest during a protest against the sale of alcohol in Maharashtra state in September 2019; the reports circulated months before the novel coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

9 April 2020

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277. These 10 tips for preventing COVID-19 contain false information

Social media posts shared thousands of times advocate 10 methods to prevent a novel coronavirus infection, citing recommendations allegedly stemming from autopsies on COVID-19 victims, including in China, where the virus first emerged. The advice is misleading; experts say the list includes half-truths and outright falsehoods.

9 April 2020

More here.

276. This Sri Lankan spice manufacturer said it has used the logo since 2007, years before the political party was established

A photo has been shared hundreds of times in multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter which claim it shows that packets of spice included in Sri Lankan government ration kits during the COVID-19 lockdown were branded with a local political party's logo. The posts allege that the photo is evidence vulnerable people are being exploited during the pandemic for political gain. The claim is misleading; both the manufacturer and retailer told AFP that it has used the logo on its packaging since at least 2007; the logo is not identical to the cited political party’s electoral symbol, which the party adopted in 2016.

9 April 2020

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275. A photo taken in 2016 of tank in Toronto resurfaces amid COVID-19 outbreak

As a special task force assembled earlier this month to help in the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, a photo of a tank on Toronto’s Dundas Square surfaced on social media. However, the photo was taken in 2016 during a festival and no tanks were used to move troops throughout the Greater Toronto Area, army representatives told AFP.

8 April 2020

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274. Photo of coffins of coronavirus victims in Italy? This photo has circulated in reports about the coffins of earthquake victims in Italy in 2009

A photo has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook alongside a claim it shows coffins of coronavirus victims in Italy. The claim is false; the photo has circulated in media reports since 2009 about the coffins of earthquake victims in the Italian city of L’Aquila.

8 April 2020

More here.

273. Video of Spanish police transferring people to quarantine centers? This video was shot in Azerbaijan in October 2019 during an anti-government protest

A video viewed thousands of times in Nigeria and shared in multiple Facebook posts claims to show police in Spain rounding up people aged 50 and above to transfer them to quarantine centers amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The claim is false; the footage was circulating months before the outbreak and actually shows police in Azerbaijan detaining anti-government protesters in the capital Baku.

8 April 2020

More here.

272. This video was edited to make it look like South Africa’s leader announced an 81-day lockdown

Video posts viewed thousands of times purport to show South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing an alleged 81-day lockdown. But the video has been edited to change the context of an earlier speech he made during a national news broadcast. The TV channel which aired the original segment has refuted the doctored video and there have been no official announcements from the presidency to extend the ongoing 21-day lockdown set to end on April 16, 2020.

8 April 2020

More here.

271. Misleading claim circulates that Muslims ignored COVID-19 curfew at Sri Lankan mosque

A claim has been shared on Facebook and several Sri Lankan news websites that Muslims at a mosque in Sri Lanka reacted violently after authorities told them their gathering was in violation of the country's novel coronavirus curfew. The claim is misleading; police and public health officials said that locals were in fact asked to gather at the mosque to receive tests to detect COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The scuffle that occurred at the event was sparked over fears that the testing site would make the village more susceptible to infections, they said.

8 April 2020

More here.

270. Nigerian health authority denounces fake social media accounts

Social media accounts purporting to represent the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control have proliferated since February, when Africa's most populous country recorded its first case of COVID-19. AFP Fact Check rounds up some of the most popular fake accounts.

8 April 2020

More here.

269. A photo of a boy who died of COVID-19 in the UK? This photo has circulated in reports about an Irish teenager who died in 2017

A photo of a young boy has been shared repeatedly on Facebook, Twitter and various websites alongside a claim that it shows a 13-year-old who died after contracting the novel coronavirus in the UK in 2020. The claim is false; the photograph has circulated in reports since 2017 about a teenager who died in Ireland.

8 April 2020

More here.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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45. 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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44. 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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43. 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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42. 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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41. 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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40. 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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39. 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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37. 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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36. This woman's family said there is no evidence she died after contracting the novel coronavirus

A video has been viewed thousands of times in a Facebook post published in January 2020 that claims it shows a woman fainting after contracting the novel coronavirus that caused a global pandemic in 2020. The claim is misleading; the woman's family told AFP there is no evidence she died from the coronavirus; the hospital authorities have said they are cotinuing to investigate the cause of her death; Malaysian authorities have said 14 people have contracted the novel coronavirus but none have died as of February 7, 2020.

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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