Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the press as he volunteers at the Moisson Outaouais food bank in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, on July 3, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Kadri MOHAMED / AFP)

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

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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".

The claim was published in this Facebook post on August 4, 2020. The post has been shared more than 3,800 times. 

A screenshot of the misleading post taken on August 7, 2020

The post’s caption reads: “CANADA is now Covid free! i hope philippines next, don't lose hope, we can do this!”

The claim circulated online as the Philippines saw its COVID-19 cases surge past 100,000, triggering another lockdown in the capital Manila and surrounding provinces.

An identical claim was also shared here, here, here and here on Facebook; and here, here and here on Twitter. 

The claim, however, is false.

As of August 9, 2020, the Canadian government reported here that there were 6,742 active COVID-19 cases in the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has recorded 119,451 cases and 8,981 deaths, the government's website states.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, released a statement on August 6 reporting that Canada had recorded a daily average of 400 COVID-19 cases over the previous week. 

“As we learn to live with the virus in our midst, Canadians continue to rise to the challenge, adapting their daily routines to include important public health practices,” Tam’s statement added.