Members of staff of the Leeds General Infirmary gesture to their colleagues from the street as they all participate in a national NHS (National Health Service) celebration clap outside the hospital in Leeds on July 5, 2020, to mark its 72nd anniversary. (AFP / Oli Scarff)

Fake UK health service graphic promotes coronavirus pandemic denial on social media

Copyright AFP 2017-2020. All rights reserved.

A graphic has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Instagram and Facebook in September 2020 that purports to show advice published by the UK’s health authority, the National Health Service (NHS), stating Covid-19 does not exist. The claim is false; the NHS said it did not issue the graphic; the purported information listed in the graphic directly contradicts current UK health service advice about the coronavirus pandemic.

The graphic was published here by an Australia-based Instagram user on September 16, 2020. The post has received more than 500 likes.

The post's caption reads: "Here are some REAL facts and figures for you to share around."

The image is titled “CORONAVIRUS FAQ” and bears the logo of the UK’s National Health Service

A screenshot of the Instagram post as of September 17, 2020.

The text in the mage reads: "Does Covid-19 Exist ? 
"NO, SARS 1 & 2 have not yet been isolated and the current unlawful measures are a freedom grab. 

"Are the tests accurate ? 
"NO, the PCR test cannot identify any virus whatsover and are only used to create false cases & fear 

"Any science behind Social Distancing & Masks? 
"NO, none of these measures are backed by science and proven harmful to health & immunity. Not one life has been saved, instead the opposite is true 

"Are Vaccines Safe? 
"NO, since vaccines, 56% of the global population now has a permanent chronic illness & Autism now 1 in 100”.

The image also appeared here and here on Instagram, and here and here on Facebook alongside a similar claim.

The claim is false.

Bogus graphic

The NHS denied producing the graphic in an email to AFP on September 22, 2020.

Official NHS advice and information about the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease Covid-19, can be found here on its website. 

Official advice

The NHS recommends social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. On its website, it states it recognises that vaccines are safe and important in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. This is consistent with advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to this coronavirus test explainer on the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust website, the PCR test is being used widely to test for Covid-19 in the UK.

“[The PCR] test is used for patients and NHS staff, as well as in the community, and it gives you a fairly accurate indication of whether or not you are infected with coronavirus currently. The antigen test is a different test that can also tell you if you are currently infected, but it is much less accurate than the PCR test and not yet in wide use. The antibody test is still being developed for wider use and its result can indicate that you may have previously had coronavirus,” the webpage reads.

As of September 23, 2020, the UK requires masks to be worn in most public indoor settings, as well as other areas “where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet”.