Germany did not 'admit' there was no Covid-19 pandemic

The German government did not "admit" there was no coronavirus pandemic, contrary to social media posts that misrepresented documents from the country's disease control agency. The baseless claim, which is the latest reincarnation of a conspiracy theory that the virus was faked, appeared to originate on a website that regularly peddles misinformation.

"The German government admits there was no pandemic," read a simplified Chinese post on Weibo shared on April 10, 2024.

"Breaking news from Germany, the federal government has been forced to admit that the so-called 'conspiracy theorists' were right about everything during the corona pandemic."

The Covid-19 pandemic sparked a wave of baseless conspiracy theories, including that the crisis was staged by a global elite in order to control the world. 

"In fact, according to the German government data, there was no pandemic at all," the post added.

"Just a tightly choreographed military grade psy-op to brainwash the masses into accepting an experimental vaccine with disastrous consequences."

Screenshot of false post on Weibo, taken from May 17, 2024

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the Covid-19 pandemic in May 2023 but misinformation about the disease continues to flourish online.

The false claim that Germany "admitted" there was no pandemic circulated in posts in Japanese, Czech and Greek, while French politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan also shared it in a Facebook video.

'Secret' documents

Social media posts pushing the claim are translations of an English-language article by The People's Voice, a website formerly known as News Punch that AFP has previously fact-checked.

The article purports to show a post on X, formerly Twitter, from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz which reads: "Covid was a psy-op to test compliance with mRNA and lockdowns. There was no pandemic."

However, AFP found no trace of that post on Scholz's X account.

Screenshot of The People's Voice article, taken May 23, 2024

According to The People's Voice, the German government published 2,000 pages of "secret" documents following a Freedom of Information request filed by journalist Paul Schreyer and his magazine Multipolar.

While the article does not provide further details, Multipolar said the documents revealed that a government decision in March 2020 to raise the pandemic risk level to high was a political move taken by an "external actor" whose name is redacted, rather than by health officials.

The People's Voice quotes an X post that concluded the pandemic was a "fraud" because the classification of Covid-19 as a high health risk was a political decision rather than a scientific one.

However, Germany's disease control agency the Robert Koch Institute clarified that the redacted name was that of an institute employee, not an "external actor" (archived link).

It said the decision to reclassify Covid-19 as a high health risk was made as cases surged in Europe and around the world, with the WHO declaring a pandemic days before the taskforce met (archived link).

The World Health Organization reported more than seven million Covid-19 deaths, as of May 5, 2024 (archived link).

AFP has fact-checked more misinformation around the pandemic here.

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