Disinfo: COVID-19 originates from Chinese laboratory in Wuhan

Summary

Chinese scientists fear that the new coronavirus could actually originate from a laboratory 300 metres away from the market in Wuhan, as research on infected bats was carried out in this laboratory.

Disproof

A recurring conspiracy theory that echoes pro-Kremlin disinformation about the artificial creation of COVID-19. There is no evidence that the coronavirus (COVID-19) was created in laboratories. COVID-19 comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold and viruses such as SARS and MERS. Coronaviruses are known to circulate in mammals and birds, and scientists have already suggested that COVID-19 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 the 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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: China
  • Keywords: coronavirus, laboratory, Conspiracy theory

Belarus

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Disinfo: The EU has collapsed, countries are building borders

The European Union has collapsed. The countries are beginning to build borders: between Poland and Germany, between Germany and France, between the Czech Republic and Austria. [There are] borders, borders, borders…

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse. It also aims to pit EU member states against each other in an attempt to undermine European solidarity - another recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation tactic. There is no evidence to support the doomsday claim that the pandemic is resulting in the death or obsolescence of the EU. EU Member States are helping each other in this crisis; for example, German hospitals offering to treat critical coronavirus patients from France as well as taking in patients from Italy and the Czech Republic sending masks to Italy. Read more about the EU's response here and here.

Disinfo: EU's health and safety policies failed, EU feels the threat of losing its power

[…] The coronavirus epidemic marks the beginning of an era of crisis for pan-European identity and solidarity. National borders between the EU countries, closed by [state] governments, have become a clear illustration of [the EU’s] inefficiency and its failed health and safety policies. Therefore, all the bureaucratic structures of the EU, as well as political forces oriented towards the globalist agenda, feel a clear threat of losing their power.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse. It also aims to pit EU member states against each other in an attempt to undermine European solidarity - another recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation tactic. There is no evidence to support the doomsday claim that the pandemic is resulting in the death or obsolescence of the EU. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a €37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector. To provide all EU Member States with essential medical equipment, the EU has created the European stockpile of ventilators, masks and lab supplies. This medical and protective equipment is available to any EU country. The Commission will finance 90% of this stockpile through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (RescEU). EU Member States are also helping each other in this crisis, for example German hospitals offering to treat critical coronavirus patients from France as well as taking in patients from Italy and the Czech Republic sending masks to Italy. Read more about the EU's response here and here.

Disinfo: Russian scientists created 3 drugs against coronavirus

Russian scientists created 3 drugs that could potentially be used against the coronavirus COVID-19 – Remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine/ chloroquine, and fortepren.

Disproof

None of the listed drugs was created in Russia. Remdevisir was developed by Gilead Sciences for Ebola virus. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are oral prescription drugs that have been used for the treatment of malaria and were added as a recommended antiviral for the treatment of COVID-19 in China. Fortepren was created back in 2016 and has been recommended for patients with chronic recurrent herpes. CDC approved Remdevisir and Hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine as therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients. Read more disinformation cases about coronavirus here.

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