People queue up to receive limited edition postage stamps depicting Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn during his birthday celebrations at the Grand Central Post Office in Bangkok on July 28, 2017. (AFP / Lillian Suwanrumpha)

Hoax Thai post ‘warning’ message shares misleading claim about Covid-19 infection from touching mail

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A message has been shared repeatedly in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and messaging app Line that purports to be an official warning from the Thailand Post service about the danger of contracting Covid-19 from touching mail. The claim is false: Thailand Post said the message was “fake” and that it did not issue any such warning. In response to the misleading posts, the deputy director-general of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control told AFP that no one has tested positive for Covid-19 in Thailand after touching mail.

The post was published here on Facebook on January 4, 2021. 

The Thai-language text in the post translates to English in part as: “A warning from Thailand Post, when you receive your parcel, please separate it in a bag for at least 24 hours before you open it or spray it with disinfectant before putting it inside your house. There are people who got infected with Covid-19 through this. Please forward it to other people."

The post’s caption translates in part as: “Please read (the officer is also scared, but we can’t do anything because there are a lot of mails. Please be compassionate to us, please send them to the house first. Thank you very much for thinking about the officers.)”

A similar claim was also shared in the form of a 35-second voice audio on messaging app Line.

The purported warning was also shared here, here, and here on Facebook and here on Twitter alongside a similar claim.

The claim is false: Thailand Post said it did not issue the purported warning.

Thailand Post’s Chief Operation Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kalong Subsaart, told AFP that the organisation “did not issue the warning”.

“This [message] did not come from us, ” he said by phone on January 11, 2021.

Thailand Post also shared this statement on its website on January 4, 2020.

The statement’s headline translates to English as: “Thailand Post warns users not to fall for fake information about a Covid-19 contaminated parcel.”

In response to the claim in the misleading posts, Deputy Director-General of Thailand’s Department of Disease Control Dr. Kajornsak Kaewcharat told AFP by phone on January 11, 2021: “There have been zero [Covid-19] infections originating from mail delivery. However, after we touch the parcels, it is a common hygienic practice to clean your hands with alcohol gel to avoid infecting yourself with Covid-19.”