This Pakistani bank said no employees had tested positive for COVID-19 and its branches remained open

A screenshot of a purported internal email disclosing that a bank in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi was closed after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been shared on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. The claim is false; the bank said in a statement that “no employee at any” branch had tested positive for COVID-19, and that all branches remained “open and fully operative.”

The screenshot was published on Facebook here on March 19, 2020. The post’s caption reads: “Bank of Punjab Chandni chowk Branch Rawalpindi. One of the staff member Corona Test Positive.”

Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post

A similar misleading claim about the Bank of Punjab (BOP) branch closing were also shared on Facebook here and on Twitter here, here and here. The claim was shared on WhatsApp as well.

Below is a screenshot of the WhatsApp message:

Screenshot of a misleading WhatsApp post

The claim is false.

BOP shared a statement on Facebook on March 19, 2020 to deny the closure.

“News and rumors are being spread on social media that some employees of a BOP branch have tested positive for Covid -19. BOP has taken strong notice of these fake news and clarifies that no employee at any BOP branch of office has tested positive for COVID-19,” the bank said.

The manager of the BOP’s Rawalpindi branch, Khawaja Rashid, also denied the claim.

“All staff are present today and working and none of our staff members went for coronavirus tests. All news circulating on social media in this regard are false,” he told AFP by phone on March 24, 2020.

As of March 24, 2020, Pakistan has 887 confirmed COVID-19 cases and six deaths, according to the latest situation report from Pakistan’s National Institute of Health.