Disinfo: Coronavirus might have been brought to Wuhan from outside China

Summary

The coronavirus that caused the pandemic did not originate in Wuhan.

Five of China’s largest scientific institutes have studied the COVID-19 genome samples taken in 12 countries on 4 continents. They found that there is no “ancestor” of the virus that can be found in China. It means that the coronavirus was brought to the market in Wuhan, where it is believed the epidemic began, by an already infected person. It is likely that by that time, the infection was already developing in other regions.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory and pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in China, in the city of Wuhan on December 31. On that day, China alerted the WHO about several cases of pneumonia from an unknown cause. Some of those infected worked at the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which is believed to be the place where the new disease originated. Very quickly, the number of those infected rose to over 40.

On January 13, the coronavirus was confirmed in Thailand, in Japan on January 16 and in North Korea and the United States on January 20. In Japan, the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in a resident of Kanagawa Prefecture who had travelled to Wuhan at the beginning of January.

The first case in Italy was confirmed on January 30, when two Chinese tourists in Rome tested positive for the virus. A week later the third case was confirmed in an Italian man who was repatriated back to Italy from Wuhan.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 193
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: China
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory, Conspiracy

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Myth about Ukraine as a separate nation was created in the USSR

In the USSR, a myth was created about Ukraine as a country, in which another type of people lives – “Ukrainians”. They were separate, albeit “fraternal”, people. They supposedly consisted of boys and girls in costume, and, as such, were considered to be “folk”.

This complimentary, and not substituting identity is the only thing that can help the future of Ukraine and its people. Not concept of “Ukrainian, not Russian”, but that of “Little Russian and Russian”. This will return to Ukraine the meaning of existence as a truly Little Russia, as an integral part of the Russian world.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative questioning the Ukrainian statehood.

Ukraine is a well-defined nation-state that has preserved language, literature and identity despite foreign rule for long periods. It is a sovereign state whose borders are guaranteed by international agreements but were violated by Russia, which started a war in Ukraine.

Bill Gates wants to implant microchips in people’s heads

Donald Trump’s former adviser, Roger Stone, suggested that Bill Gates might have had a hand in creating the Coronavirus and spreading the pandemic around the world, so Gates could implant microchips in people’s heads to distinguish between those who are tested for COVID-19 and enforce mandatory vaccinations.

Disproof

This is a recurring conspiracy theory on the coronavirus mainly popularised by anti-vaxxers who continue to find support in pro-Kremlin outlets.

Roger Stone Jr., is a former associate to the current American President. He was recently sentenced to 40 months in prison for felonies related to Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist, who is now the star of an explosion of conspiracy theories, has mentioned health certificates in a discussion but this has nothing to do with alleged ID2020 microchips. Later, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters, “The reference to ‘digital certificates’ relates to efforts to create an open-source digital platform with the goal of expanding access to safe, home-based testing".

Digital certificates are used to send encrypted information over the internet, as in the common case of electronic signatures which are used to verify identity. They were officially defined by what is now called the Telecommunication Standardisation Sector in 1988 and have always been virtual, not physical.

The claim that Gates has a link with the ”creation” of coronavirus is based on the fact that the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” finance some research projects of Pirbright Institute, a centre of excellence in research and surveillance of virus diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans, based in the UK. On 24 January 2020, the Pirbright institute posted a press release explaining that the organisation has no link with the new COVID.

Only 17 or 18 really died from COVID-19 in Italy

There might only be 17 or 18 real deaths from the coronavirus (in Italy).

Corpses are being burned today without referring to a doctor and without a certificate to mention the reason for death whereas everyone who died in Italy is being labelled as “death by coronavirus”. 

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory to showcase that the Italian government is deliberately hiding the number of coronavirus cases and deaths. It is part of the ongoing pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus.

Professor Walter Ricciardi, scientific advisor to Italy’s minister of health has explained that "on re-evaluation by the National Institute of Health, only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity - many had two or three".