Wuhan

  • SATIRE: Mosquitoes Inoculated With Viagra Have Not Escaped From Wuhan Laboratory.

    Claim: Viral Whatsapp messages claim thousands of mosquitoes inoculated with Viagra have escaped from a high security laboratory in China

    The report is a satire and should not be taken seriously.

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    A viral message relating to the COVID-19 infodemic circulating on Whatsapp in Sierra Leone purports that thousands of genetically modified mosquitoes inoculated with Viagra have escaped from a high security laboratory in China and that their bite can lead to continuous erection and increase libido in men. 

    The introductory message accompanying the link reads: 

    “the effect of one mosquitos bite can last up to 40 hours and symptoms include an increase in libido, sexual arousal and possibly a very large erection”-Dr. Wengi Ying Yin Jing”. 

    Verification

    The viral claim of inoculated mosquitoes with Viagra escaping from a security laboratory in Wuhan Institute of Virology was published by the World Daily Report website

    We found it to be a satirical website. The site has under its logo the disclaimer “Where facts don’t matter”. The “ABOUT US” section on the website also states the following: “WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people –  are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.”

    However, the introductory paragraph before the viral link that has gone viral on social media does not indicate that the content is satirical, thereby unintentionally misleading readers. 

    Moreover, the image of a purported 87 years old Wuhan resident attached to the article who is purported to have been hospitalized because he was bitten by one of the genetically modified mosquitoes has been wrongly used. The image is originally a Japanese super century who was aged 114 years before he died on September 28, 2003. Yukichi Chuganji was long dead before this claim appeared on their website as a victim of the genetically modified mosquito bite.

  • Has Nigeria imposed a N20,000 fine or 6-month jail term for refusal to wear a face mask?

    A viral WhatsApp message claimed that the sanction for failing to wear a face mask is an N20,000 fine, 6 months imprisonment or both.

    The claim that there is a fine of N20,000 or six-month imprisonment for not wearing a face mask is false. 

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    A WhatsApp message claimed that the use of face masks in public had been made compulsory and that failure to wear face masks is now a criminal offence in Nigeria.

    The message urging the public to always go out with their face mask added that this offence attracts a fine of N20,000, six-month imprisonment or both.

    Also, a recent Facebook post by Tomiwa Ogunremi repeated the claim even as he admitted the inability to confirm the authenticity of the source.

    Verification

    First, Dubawa conducted a keyword search on the use of face masks in Nigeria. Then we studied the recent guideline for easing the lockdown by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and that of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). 

    COVID-19 and Face masks

    Following the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the World Health Organisation recommended the use of face masks. 

    The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) also recommended wearing face masks in public. 

    According to the NCDC, the primary aim of this measure is to prevent infected persons and asymptomatic carriers of the virus from spreading the disease. The centre explained that this measure adds another layer to extant measures such as physical distancing, hand washing as well as respiratory hygiene.

    With the continuous rise in the number of cases globally,  some countries have made the use of face masks in public compulsory, but not all countries have attached sanctions like fine and imprisonment to violations. 

    Although the wearing of face masks in public in Nigeria was announced as compulsory by the Presidential Task Force [PTF] on COVID-19, no stated sanction was announced. But there were indications in April that hints that the PTF might move in that direction muted when the Task Force claimed it was working on a policy for the mandatory use of face masks. So far nothing to that effect has been released.

    Below is a recent guideline by the PTF for the second phase of easing the COVID-19 lockdown.

    Conclusion 

    The claim that there is a fine of N20,000 or six-month imprisonment for not wearing a face mask is false. 

    While the Nigerian Government had made wearing of face masks compulsory, there was no stated sanction such as a fine or imprisonment for defaulters. The only thing mentioned in the PTF guideline is the “no mask, no entry” and “no mask, no service” policy.

  • Sub-Saharan Africans Are NOT Blessed With Coronavirus Resistant Skin or Blood

    Chinese Doctors confirm African skin resists Coronavirus infection, says newswatchnigeria.com and other sites

    There is no evidence to suggest “black people’s” immunity to the virus, or conversely “white people’s” vulnerability to it. The World Health Organisation (WHO) already stated that anyone in proximity to an infected person is at risk of contracting it (COVID-19). 

    Full Text

    The major outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan China has caused pandemonium with countries setting measures in place to curb its spread. Other than tackling the epidemic, the media now faces an onslaught of resultant misinformation.

    WhatsApp Screenshot

    Recently, a blog post said that Chinese doctors have confirmed that Africans have skin layers that are immune to the deadly covid-19.

    Other African platforms also published the story; platforms like CityScrollz, GHGossip, Kenyan Bulletin, Nairaland, CameroonIntelligenceReport amongst others.

    According to the post, a Cameroonian college student studying in China who contracted coronavirus quickly recovered “because of his blood genetic composition, which is mainly found in the genetic composition of Subsaharan Africans.”

    Verification

    Coronavirus, which was renamed Covid-19 recently by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is a virus that infects humans; leading to an upper and sometimes lower respiratory tract infection. 

    Does it mean Africans are safe? NO

    Findings suggest otherwise. While the premise is correct, the claim is baseless; just another conclusion circulated by online blogs. Moreover, no credible news platform published it. Besides that, no health authority announced this alleged discovery.  

    Isolated Incident

    Nonetheless, it is accurate that a 21-year old Cameroonian, Kem Senou Daryl studying in China became ill and was hospitalized shortly after contacting coronavirus. He was the first African in China to contract the disease and report a full recovery.

    Reports have it that the young man who was under a 14-day quarantine in the university dormitory said:

    “No matter what happens I don’t want to take the sickness back to Africa.” 

    Initially, he suffered from a fever, dry cough and flu-like symptoms; then was in isolation for 13 days in a local Chinese hospital. The doctors in the hospital administered antibiotics and HIV retroviral medication on Daryl for two weeks, after which he began to show signs of recovery. The hospital cleared Dary after the doctors conducted a CT scan and found no traces of the illness. The Chinese state also covered his medical care.

    Possibly authentic image, still

    Dubawa also performed reverse image verification on the pictures attached to the claim. Results revealed that they did not exist before February. Yet, to reiterate what we’ve established, it is an isolated incident!

    Black or White? Don’t Matter

    There is no evidence that black people were or are less susceptible to the disease. Anyone regardless of race who comes into close contact with an infected party is at risk. 

    If indeed it is true that people from African backgrounds are more resistant to coronavirus than others, one should expect it to be a significant news story. Instead, we found the story only on a handful of online blogs, calling its trustworthiness to question.

    PesaCheck interviewed a Medical practitioner, and the Doctor in a fact-check they published said:

    Excerpt from PesaCheck

    Conclusion

    While Senou was the first African to contract the virus and recuperate from it, one cannot attribute his recovery to just genetics or a superior immune system. His healing was instead a function of medication administered, according to new reports. Although, according to Dr Kitheka, a healthy immune system does play a role in recovery.

  • China Is NOT Seeking Approval for Gross Homicide!

    Full Text

    Adding to the wave of misinformation on the new Wuhan Coronavirus is this publication by CityNews. The news platform claimed that China is seeking approval from its Supreme Court to kill over 20,000 coronavirus patients.

    City News published this report on the 5th of January 2020 with the byline, ‘Local Correspondent’. It also surfaced on GistLover, AbujaPress, itrendnaija amongst others.

    As the number of infected people keeps increasing, so does the number of people dying from the novel coronavirus. Not to mention, reports suggest the virus has beat its sister virus- SARS- in a death toll surpassing 900. As a result, fear has ensued as relevant health authorities are yet to zero in on a permanent solution to this crisis.

    Thus, if this claim turned out to be true, efforts to find the cure would prove a Sisyphean. This is especially true for a country like Nigeria whose health sector may be ill-equipped to handle a viral outbreak when compared to China. 

    Verification

    To start with, no credible news platform has reported this claim. Moreso, the report has no proof to corroborate its claims, it has no mention of any source for its claims. This is of course besides the fact that the article has no byline, only “Local Correspondent’’, not to mention the error in the spelling of china – “Chhina”.

    Moreover, the carrier of this claim – CityNews – is unreliable. Snopes, in this publication, has pointed out the inadequacies in some of its (CityNews) early reports. Also, our findings show AB-TC news site is not the most reliable. It had published an erroneous report about a New York coach and articles about a restaurant allegedly encouraging cannibalism which Snopes rated false.

    While revealing the results of its findings, Boom gave details about the shady website here and rated its claim false. The Indian fact-checking platform further revealed pertinent intel regarding AB-TC (City News).

    Source: Boom

    According to Boom, Guangdong China is the registration point for City News; set up just seven months ago in June 2019.

    The Times of India has also taken time to debunk this viral report, calling it a rumour. “No credible media house has reported this; the claim is at best a rumour.” 

    Last but by no means least, the website of the Supreme People’s Court of China has made no mention of the claim. 

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