Top Spanish court did not 'rule Covid-19 is a bioweapon' in new blow for health minister

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Social media users have falsely claimed that a top court in Spain ruled "Covid is a bioweapon with a patent" in a humiliating blow to the country's health minister. The baseless claim was shared on Telegram in Australia in a post that was then recirculated in Thailand, the US and the UK. The Spanish health ministry said the allegation was "false" and the country's Supreme Court separately said it had not ruled Covid-19 is a "bioweapon".

"Spain is now the 9th country to take its Health Minister to court and win. The Spanish High Court has announced that Covid 19 is a bioweapon with a patent," reads this Facebook post that shared a screenshot from the Telegram channel @AustraliaOneParty_Official on January 28.

A screenshot of the false claim, captured on March 16.

The Australia One Party is a now unregistered political group led by Riccardo Bosi, a known conspiracy theorist.

The Telegram post was forwarded from a QAnon-related group on January 27. It was viewed more than 52,300 times across these two groups.

The false claim and screenshot of the Telegram posts have been shared nearly 300 times in Australia, the US, Thailand and the UK.

As of March 17, 2023, there have been no such judgements published on Spain's General Council of the Judiciary website, which is responsible for recording updates from all courts in the country.

There were no such results from a keyword search on the court's website for Salvador Illa, who was in office from January 2020 to January 2021, and his successor Carolina Darias San Sebastián.

The Spanish health ministry also denied the claims.

"We can confirm that is a false article," a ministry spokesperson said. "Spain’s health ministers have not been involved in any court case."

A spokesperson from Spain's Supreme Court told AFP that "the court has not announced that Covid 19 is a bioweapon with a patent."

"We don’t know what can be the reason for that misunderstanding."

AFP has debunked claims that linked old patents to Covid-19 here and here. The virus has killed around 6.87 million people globally since 2020.

The origin of the virus has been a heated discussion since the pandemic began.

On March 4, the WHO urged all countries to reveal what they know about the origins of Covid-19, following US claims of a Chinese lab leak and furious denials from Beijing, AFP reported.

The WHO said it was continuing to examine "all available scientific evidence," spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told AFP on February 27.

"We call on China and the scientific community to undertake necessary studies" for determining the virus' origin, he added. "Until we have more evidence, all hypotheses are still on the table."