Disinfo: Coronavirus could have originated from Latvia

Summary

Latvia, which has enough talented biologists and pharmacists, could have created the coronavirus. Covid-19 can be used as a pretext to limit people’s freedom, so they couldn’t organize protests, and as an opportunity to justify an economic recession.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is another unfounded pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory about the coronavirus. COVID-19 is not a biological weapon and there is no proof that it would have been artificially created. This coronavirus comes from a family of viruses, originating in animals, that include other viruses such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading across the world, with cases being reported in 150 countries, territories and areas by 16th of March 2020. See related pro-Kremlin disinformation cases about the coronavirus outbreak, alleging that governments overestimate the threat, that it was born in a laboratory to infect Chinese, that it is an element of hybrid warfare and that the remedy has been developed in Ukraine.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 188
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: Latvia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory
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Coronavirus was created in a laboratory

Coronavirus is created in a laboratory. “COVID-19 has been “collected” from the bat coronavirus, snake coronavirus and the glycoprotein component of HIV. Such a combination cannot occur in nature. The United States should allow international observers to enter its laboratories. Оtherwise, they would be the first to be suspected of developing the coronavirus. There are well known laboratory-borne infections like avian flu, coronavirus, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome.

Disproof

Recurring conspiracy theories that echo pro-Kremlin disinformation about coronavirus. The narratives also resemble a recurring conspiracy theory about the Lugar Lab in Georgia. There is no evidence that SARS, MERS, or avian influenzas were created in laboratories. The current coronavirus (2019-nCoV) comes from a family of viruses that include other viruses such as SARS and MERS. The identity of the animal source of the coronavirus, named nCoV-2019, has been one of the key questions for researchers. Coronaviruses are known to circulate in mammals and birds, and scientists have already suggested that nCoV-2019 originally came from bats. One of the previous coronaviruses that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, spread from bats to civet cats to humans. A group of 27 prominent public health scientists have condemned rumours and conspiracy theories about the origin of coronavirus outbreak. "We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.The authors of The Lancet statement note that scientists from several countries who have studied SARS-CoV-2 “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, just like many other viruses that have recently emerged in humans. Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus, the statement says.

Coronavirus COVID-19 reached NATO and disrupts its anti-Russian plans

Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the world. Hundreds of forums and international events are being cancelled due to the pandemic. The time has come for NATO military exercises. COVID-19 reaches NATO and disrupts its plans. The large anti-Russian exercise Cold Response is cancelled. So, it is possible that the same decision will be made for the Defender 2020.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that NATO is encircling Russia and that US-led military exercises, Cold Response and Defender-Europe 2020, are directed against Russia. Find similar cases here. Cold Response 2020 is a Norwegian-led military exercise in northern Norway and not directed against Russia. Norway is a leading nation in NATO when it comes to cold weather operations, and has extensive experience in this field. This makes Norway a natural and experienced host for winter exercises such as Cold Response. The main aim of the exercise is to secure the Norwegian Armed Forces and allies' ability to conduct multinational joint exercises with a high-intensity combat scenario in demanding winter conditions. The exercise is now being terminated, due to the ongoing coronavirus situation in Norway. Defender Europe 2020 is not aimed against Russia and is defensive in nature. NATO’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg affirmed that it is not directed against any particular country. Its purpose is to practice the rapid deployment of large-scale forces across the Atlantic into Europe, demonstrating the US military’s ability to quickly send a massive contingent to support NATO and respond to any crisis. In response to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and recent guidance by the United States Secretary of Defence, the exercise has been modified in size and scope. You can see other examples of disinformation about NATO in our database, such as its never-ending provocations, its attempts to block Moscow in its sphere of influence, the Alliance's permanent targeting of Russia and Belarus, its role as a US subjugation tool for other countries and its unreliability to defend its members or its plans to continue attacking other countries, and that Defender 2020 is for testing options for invading the Kaliningrad region.

Polish President refused to take part in the World Holocaust Forum to not be reminded about role of the Red Army

The Polish President refused to take part in the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem as he did not want to be reminded about how the Red Army liberated Auschwitz.

Disproof

This message is part of the ongoing Russian disinformation campaign against Poland, which includes several false messages (such as alleged responsibility of Poland for WWII and the Holocaust). Polish President Andrzej Duda announced his decision not to attend the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem due to the fact that Poland was not allowed to give an address at the event. The Polish President also expressed concern about Russian President Vladimir Putin's accusations that Poland was complicit in the outbreak of World War II. See other examples of disinformation connected to the World Holocaust Forum and anniversary of Auschwitz liberation - Poland is avoiding discussion on difficult historical issues by refusing to take part in World Holocaust Forum; Poland did not invite president Putin for the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation; It is historically unfair that Russia was presented at the Auschwitz ceremony only at the ambassador’s level.