WebQoof Recap: HCQ as COVID-19 Cure, Virus Covered Notes & More

·7-min read

With fake news around COVID-19 spreading faster than the virus itself, the coronavirus infodemic is gaining more momentum with each passing day. The Quint’s WebQoof team has so far debunked nearly 120 stories around COVID-19 and for yet another week, misinformation around the viral outbreak continued to dominate the fake news cycle.

Here’s a quick round-up of all the WhatsApp forwards and fake tweets that did the rounds this week!

1. Hydroxychloroquine For COVID-19: Miracle Drug or Premature Claims?

The first case of the novel coronavirus was reported on 31 December 2019. While a sure shot treatment is still not known, already existing drugs such as Remdesivir, Lopinavir, Ritonavir, Chloroquine and its derivative Hydroxychloroquine have come up in several clinical trials as possible treatments for COVID-19.

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Also Read: Muslims Attacked Cops in Maharashtra’s Malegaon? It’s Fake News

Among these, Hydroxychloroquine specifically is being endorsed as a potential treatment, so much so that ICMR has already approved on 22 March, its use as prophylactic for the high-risk population such as the healthcare workers and those directly exposed to COVID-19 patients.

After nearly a month of its approval as a prophylactic, in a press conference on 18 April, the head of ICMR's epidemiology, Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, said that an observational study on the impact of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a prophylactic and therapeutic drug was being conducted.

The Quint reached out to experts at Indian Scientists’ Response to COVID-19 to know more about the anti-malarial drug and its usage in COVID-19 treatment.

Read the full story here.

2. Palghar Lynching Incident Shared With a False Communal Angle

Three men from Mumbai, on their way to Surat to attend a funeral on Friday, 17 April, were pulled out of a car and beaten to death by villagers in Maharashtra’s Palghar district on suspicion of theft.

Soon, several videos of the incident went viral on social media with many of them being circulated with communal claims. One such claim was made by one Priya Upadhyay who said, “The killing of Hindu saints in papghar by Muslim mobs is murder of democracy. We need to be harsh with these tribes & communities who obstacling Police & their actions. (sic)”

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit identified one of the attackers as “Shoaib,” joining a widespread attempt to use this name as a means of communalising the incident.

This ‘Shoaib’ angle was justified by those claimed that people in the video are saying “Maar Shoaib maar,” while others claimed that “Bhaag Sohail bhaag” can be heard in the video.

Also Read: Old Picture Used to Claim Pregnant Woman Tested Positive for COVID

Speaking to The Quint, the PRO of Palghar SP Gaurav Singh said that the claims being made on social media are false and no such “maar Shoaib maar” slogans can be heard in the videos.

Further, we spoke to Brian Lobo, an activist with Kashtakari Sangathana and works in Dahanu Taluka in Palghar district. Kashtakari Sangathana is an organisation that works for the tribals in Maharashtra.

“There can be no man by the name of Shoaib in the village where the incident took place. It’s a completely tribal area and no Muslims live in the village,” he said.

You can read the full story here.

3. Currency Notes Strewn in Indore to Spread COVID-19? It’s Fake News

Two videos of multiple currency notes strewn on the road are being shared with the claim that an incident happened in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, where these notes were thrown on the road by a person.

While one of these viral videos shows police officials picking up these notes with rods and sticks, the other shows a number of locals walking around a road looking at these notes. The latter also has a man saying that the person who threw the notes was a Muslim.

While the incident is actually from Indore, the notes were not thrown on the road with any intention of spreading coronavirus. It was actually an accident and not a deliberate attempt by any community to spread COVID-19.

The Quint then reached out to police officials in Indore to find out more about the incident.

Rajeev Bhadoria, in-charge of Hira Nagar police station in Indore, said that the notes had not been not thrown on the road on purpose or with any bad intentions and that the rumours doing the rounds about the incident were wrong.

Read the full story here.

Also Read: WhatsApp Message on Raghuram Rajan’s COVID-19 Webinar is Fake

4. No, Germany Hasn’t Sent a £130 Bn Bill to China for COVID Damages

An article published in Express UK claims that Germany has sent a bill of £130 billion to China to pay for the damages caused by COVID-19. The article titled ‘Germany sends China £130 billion bill for ‘coronavirus damages’ – sparks fury in Beijing’ has been picked up by several media organisations including news agency IANS.

The Economic Times, along with Outlook published a syndicated article from IANS with a similar headline: “China gets 130-billion-pound bill from Germany for corona damages.”

Amar Ujala, too, published an article on Monday, 20 April, making the same claim.

However, if you read carefully, the first line of the Express article mentions that it is the German newspaper that has put together an invoice on coronavirus damages incurred by the country and not the government.

Further, Germany-based media outlet DW News aired a bulletin on 18 April with the title: “German tabloid 'Bild' demands China pay coronavirus damages.” The bulletin showed images of the bill presented by the tabloid and mentioned that the invoice amounts to €149 billion.

Further, in a letter addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Editor-in-Chief of Bild wrote, “Your embassy in Berlin has addressed me in an open letter because we asked in our newspaper BILD whether China should pay for the massive economic damage the coronavirus is inflicting worldwide.”

Though the content of the Express UK article does mention that it’s actually a Germany-based newspaper that had put together a bill, at first glance the headline is misleading and gives a wrong impression.

Read the full story here.

Also Read: US Students Sing India’s National Anthem to Thank For HCQ? Uh, No.

5. Tricolour on Matterhorn to Thank India For HCQ Supply? Fake Claim!

A tweet by BJP National General Secretary BL Santosh, in which he claims that the Matterhorn mountain in Swiss Alps was lighted up with the Indian Tricolour in the name of hope after PM Narendra Modi supplied Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets went viral on Twitter.

While the photo and the incident is true and the Indian Tricolour was actually projected onto the Matterhorn, the claim shared with the photo is false. The gesture was meant to express solidarity with all Indians in the fight against COVID-19 and had nothing to do with HCQ supply at all.

Read the full story here.

Also Read: Message on COVID Has Been Falsely Attributed to Ganga Ram Hospital

You can read all our fact-checked stories here.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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