This video has circulated online more than one year before COVID-19 was first detected

A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside a claim it shows a shaman curing a novel coronavirus patient in Malaysia. The claim is false; the video has circulated online in posts about a hospital in Indonesia since at least October 2018, more than one year before COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The video was shared here on Facebook on March 12, 2020. It has been viewed more than 1,600 times.

The footage shows several people surrounding a person in a hospital bed. One man wearing a white hat can be seen making hand gestures over the bed.

Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post

The video’s simplified Chinese-language caption translates to English as: “Malaysian top wizard Bomoh catching the novel coronavirus The wizard was diagnosed 14 days later!”

COVID-19 has killed more than 21,000 people and infected over 465,000 others worldwide, according to this report from the World Health Organisation on March 27, 2020.

The video was also published with a similar claim on Facebook here, here and here; on Twitter here, here and here; and on YouTube here, here and here.

The claim is false; this video has circulated online since at least October 2018, more than a year before the COVID-19 outbreak. 

A reverse image search on Yandex using keyframes extracted from the video in the misleading post found this October 23, 2018, Instagram post on the account of user rizkyboncell, showing an identical video.

The post is geotagged to Malang city in Indonesia.

The post’s Indonesian caption translates to English as: “Trying to calm @hanifsjahbandi…#heal #heal #pleaseheal”.  

AFP found this March 12, 2020, post where Instagram user rizkyboncell denies the claim in the misleading posts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dan Terjadi Lagi. Akhir-akhir ini video saya bareng @momiqtya @aditoel @adirstidyah dan @hanifsjahbandi kembali mencuat ke permukaan timline baik di Instagram, Twitter, atau Facebook, bahkan media Nasionalpun memberitakan. Banyak berbagai macam berita yang dibuat yang sangat bertolak belakang dengan apa yang sesungguhnya terjadi, beberapa rekan yang budiman udah tau bahwa video tersebut hanyalah guyonan yang dimana saya dan rekan-rekan waktu itu menghibur @hanifsjahbandi yang sedang cidera pada tahun 2018 lalu, dan tahun ini kembali mencuat masi tetap dalam perihal perdukunan tapi yang terbaru video tersebut dikait-kaitkan dengan virus corona atau covid-19. 😅 boro-boro nyembuhin virus corona, saya kena ac dikit aja udah masuk angin, kena panas dikit tratak en, kena hujan dikit langsung pingin Indomie kuah, aku iki lemah guys. :') Yaweslah, kalo semisal ngeliat video itu berkeliaran dengan caption yang simpang siur, boleh minta bantuan buat di luruskan daripada ada komen-komen yang tidak sesuai sama porsinya ya. Terimakasihc dan jamgan lupa jaga diri baik-baik agar terhindar dari penyakit apapun itu. Jangan lupa makan dan bersedekah! Terimaksih 😘 #viruscorona #trans7

A post shared by #saveorangutan (@rizkyboncell) on

It states, in part: “Lately my video with @momiqtya @aditoel @adirstidyah and @hanifsjahbandi has resurfaced on Instagram timeline, Twitter, or Facebook, even the national media reported.

“Lots of various kinds of news created are very contrary to what actually happened, some dear friends already know that the video is just a joke when I and my colleagues at that time entertained @hanifsjahbandi who was injured back in 2018, and this year it resurfaces still related to quackery but most recently the video is associated with the coronavirus or covid-19.”

AFP spoke to the Instagram account holder, Muhammad Rizky, via Instagram Direct Message on March 24, 2020. He said the video was shot “around 2018, in one hospital in Malang city” before the coronavirus outbreak. 

"The context of the video is entertaining a colleague whose leg was injured. He, who was injured, happened to be part of Indonesian national football team named Hanif Sjahbandi," he added.