Disinfo: COVID-19: “Washing hands is useless”


Hygienist criticises measures to protect against COVID-19 and states “Washing your hands is useless”.


There is no medical evidence to support the claim that hand washing is useless.

The WHO, as well as all major international health organisations, the EU and its national health ministries, clearly emphasise that "regularly and thoroughly cleaning your hands or washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub demonstrably kills viruses on hands", which helps to contain the spreading of COVID-19.

The German Ministry for Health lays out in its protective-guidelines for patients, "to disinfect hands regularly" and in its current information on COVID-19, the German Ministry further states to protect from COVID-19 with "washing hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water". The same recommendations are formulated by the French Ministry for Health at its COVID-19 information page.

The WHO additionally states, that washing bare hands regularly offers more protection against COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.

Read more about the EU's response here and information from the EU about fighting disinformation.


  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: EU, Germany
  • Keywords: coronavirus, health


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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The EU has not provided any guidance to member states amid the COVID-19 crisis

Only a few days ago the European Union decided to close its external borders. At the same time, it has failed to draw up any general principles or recommendations for countries that are facing a deadly threat.

The EU is a house of cards. It has shown itself to be a useless institution.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the alleged disintegration of the EU as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The European Union is supporting Member States in addressing the crisis and has adopted measure to mitigate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Italy was essentially alone in front of the coronavirus. Russia was the first to help.

Italy was essentially alone in front of the coronavirus. Russia was the first, to give a helping hand. Russian specialists brought special equipment to disinfect boarding houses and hospitals. In total, the military processed eight medical institutions and disinfected over 20 thousand square meters.


Speculative claim about "abandoned Italy." This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about West's crumbling solidarity. While Russia has sent a military team to Italy, there are numerous examples of solidarity in the Western world, including among the EU and individual Member States.

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's fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

Poland asks Italy to refuse Russian aid

Poland asks Italy to refuse Russian aid, claiming that it is inappropriate to accept help from the Kremlin’s hands.




No evidence given.

This disinformation message is consistent with pro-Kremlin media's false claims that Poland was obstructing Russian aid flights to Italy. For a more detailed debunk see Polygraph.