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False virus cure claims infect the Internet

HONG KONG: Gargle salt water, use natural eyedrops, steam-clean a face masks – false claims about the best way to fight a lethal coranavirus epidemic rising out of China are flooding the Web.

Social media giants have promoted their methods to fight misinformation associated to the epidemic, which has claimed greater than 560 lives in China and unfold to 24 international locations.

Twitter, which reported 15 million coronavirus-related tweets in January, stated it had suspended auto-suggest search outcomes that might probably produce untrustworthy content material.

Fb additionally stated it was focusing on false claims geared toward discouraging remedy or taking acceptable precautious with the respiratory virus.

“This consists of claims associated to false cures or prevention strategies – like consuming bleach cures the coronavirus – or claims that create confusion about well being assets which might be obtainable,” Kang-Xing Jin, Fb’s head of well being, stated in an announcement.

The World Well being Organisation (WHO) has additionally launched a marketing campaign to discredit particular claims, resembling that sesame oil and mouthwash can successfully kill the virus.

But the misinformation continues to pollute social media platforms and messaging apps.

Here’s a number of the false claims that AFP, which has a specialised fact-checking crew, has debunked in current days:

Boiling recent garlic

A declare that the coronavirus might be cured in a single day if victims drink freshly boiled garlic water was shared throughout Fb, Twitter and YouTube in Pakistan.

“There isn’t a scientific proof to substantiate the declare that garlic boiled water cures the novel coronavirus neither is there any correct medical analysis obtainable on the topic,” stated Dr Wasim Khawaja, an skilled on the Pakistani Institute of Medical Sciences, for an AFP fact-check report.

Antibiotic eye drop

Within the Philippines, movies seen many hundreds of thousands of declare the virus might be cured with an eye fixed drop product of sap from a neighborhood shrub that’s generally used to deal with fever and abdomen points.

One 11-minute video, claiming the tinospora crispa plant is an efficient “antibiotic” for the virus, was seen greater than 1.5 million instances on Fb.

There was no medical proof to again this declare.

Steaming face masks

A video of a purported physician advising individuals to steam disposable surgical face masks to reuse them was seen a whole bunch of hundreds of instances in a number of Chinese language-language posts on Fb, Weibo and Youku.

In Hong Kong, the video was seen nearly 900,000 instances inside a day after a lawmaker shared it on Fb.

The WHO, the Hong Kong Pink Cross and the Hong Kong Centre for Well being Safety have all issued warnings in opposition to steaming – or reusing in any respect – single-use masks.

Natural treatments

Within the days following Sri Lanka’s first confirmed coronavirus case, an article was shared a whole bunch of instances on Fb claiming that asafoetida, a plant usually utilized in conventional Indian medication, can forestall an infection.

The declare was broadly refuted by well being specialists who urged Sri Lankans to comply with official Ministry of Well being suggestions.

“There may be completely no foundation to the claims that numerous herbs resembling perumkaayam can function protecting obstacles in opposition to the unfold of coronavirus,” stated Dr Ashan Pathirana, a registrar at Sri Lanka’s state-run Well being Promotion Bureau.

Gargling saline options

A declare {that a} high Chinese language respiratory skilled suggested individuals to rinse their mouths with salt water to forestall an infection was shared broadly on a number of social media platforms, together with Weibo, Twitter and Fb.

“No current findings have advised that saline water can kill the brand new coronavirus,” the skilled, Zhong Nanshan, stated as he refuted the false declare.

* AFP at the moment works with Fb’s fact-checking programme in nearly 30 international locations and 9 languages. Dozens of different media teams, together with information organisations and specialised fact-checkers, work worldwide on the programme, which began in December 2016.

Reality-checkers are free to decide on how and what they want to examine. – AFP

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