A man crosses a road in front of cafes and eateries, closed due to Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions, in Hanoi on February 17, 2021. (AFP / Manan Vatsyayana)

Social media posts falsely claim Vietnam has recorded no deaths from Covid-19

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on February 23, 2021 at 12:10
  • Updated on February 26, 2021 at 04:18
  • 3 min read
  • By AFP Malaysia
Multiple posts on Facebook claim that Vietnam has recorded no deaths from Covid-19 due to widespread consumption of hot lemon tea in the population. The claim is false: as of February 22, 2021, Vietnam has recorded 35 coronavirus deaths. Health experts said there is "no evidence" that hot lemon tea is an effective Covid-19 treatment. 

The claim was published here on Facebook on January 23, 2021.

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post taken on January 19, 2021

The claim, translated from a mix of Malaysian and English, reads: “*Happy and special news..
Covid-19 fatality in Vietnam no one died...

“Super news.. Covid-19 virus cure already achieved information from Vietnam..
"Covid-19 virus does not cause death.. it’s obvious the recipe is simple but very effective..

“Only hot tea +lemon. Drink hot tea after mixing with lemon juice..can immediately kill Covid-19 virus..and able to completely eliminate Covid-19 virus from the body...these two ingredients make the immune system alkaline in nature..

“Because when night comes the immune system becomes acidic.. defensive ability will also be reduced..
"This is why the people of Vietnam only relax when Covid-19 virus spreads...

“In Vietnam on average everyone drinks a glass of hot water with a bit of lemon at night...
"Because it has been proven to totally kill Covid-19 virus...

“Share this magical recipe to whoever to hunt for rewards... This simple recipe is very effective because will not be infected by Covid-19 virus..
"By the permission of Allah SWT. ... Happy trying ...*”

Similar claims were also shared here, here and here.

The claim has been shared more than 1,700 times after it was posted by Indonesian social media users in April 2020 here and here on Facebook.

The claim, however, is false. 

Covid-19 deaths

As of February 22, 2021, Vietnam has recorded 35 Covid-19 deaths, according to data from the country’s Ministry of Health here and the World Health Organization (WHO) here

Screenshot of the WHO website, taken on February 22, 2021

False cure

Hafizah Sobri of Medical Mythbusters Malaysia, a coalition of Malaysian health professionals debunking medical-related myths on social media, told AFP there was "no evidence" hot tea and lemon can treat someone infected with Covid-19.

“Hot tea and lemon will not help you breathe better nor will it return the sense of smell and taste that is lost (symptoms that are usually manifested in Covid-19 infected individuals). Essentially, hot tea and lemon can temporarily relieve a common sore throat but it CANNOT treat or prevent Covid-19,” she said by email on February 22, 2021. “With the evidence that we currently have, there are no home remedies / treatments / ingredients that can prevent or treat the virus.”

Dr Anuradha P. Radhakrishnan, an infectious disease physician at Selayang Hospital, in the Malaysian town of Batu Caves, told AFP by email on February 22, 2021: “So far there is no home remedy that has reliable efficacy. All these home remedies may cause harm per se if they are not followed up with appropriate testing and eventual treatment and monitoring. Therefore, it is imperative that [the] public pay attention to their symptoms and get appropriate and timely testing to avoid late presentation.” 

AFP has debunked various other claims about Covid-19 home cures and preventions, such as drinking water with lemon, drinking tea, eating alkaline foods like lemon, and taking aspirin mixed with lemon juice and honey.  


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