Disinfo: France is behind the creation of the Coronavirus

Summary

The origin of the coronavirus, which was discovered in China, is the French Pasteur Institute.

Coronavirus was created by the Pasteur Institute and patented in the year 2004.

Disproof

Conspiracy theories about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, there is no evidence that suggests that the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is used as a weapon against other states or that is has been fabricated inside laboratories.

The virus was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading with new cases being reported in the in almost every country around the world, causing 1,210 956 confirmed cases and more than 70,000 deaths up until 07 April 2020.

The disinformation claims were made in relation to a certificate that dates back to 2004 and which certifies a discovery of a genetic code of a different virus named “SARS-CoV”. Although the virus also belongs to the Coronavirus family, it is not the 2019-nCoV coronavirus.

Read more about the AFP debunking of these claims here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: China, France
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Virus / bacteria threat, Conspiracy theory

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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The French government systematically lied to the population

In France for 50-60 years when there were health crises, the government lied to society.  When Chernobyl happened in 1984, the German authorities told to be careful and to protect oneself, and the French minister said all is well, the Chernobyl cloud stopped at the French border.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative that Western governments cannot be trusted to manage a major accident/crisis. The narrative that the "Chernobyl cloud stopped at the French borders" is so well spread in France that is accepted as a cliché.

In the early days after the nuclear accident, in April 1986 not 1984 as stated on Sputnik, environmental associations and journalists spread the idea that the French Minister of Health or Pierre Pellerin, the Director of the Central Service for Protection against Ionising Radiation, said that the "cloud stopped at the French borders". This statement was never made. Pierre Pellerin won several defamation cases against NGOs and Media on this matter. Newspapers such as Le Parisien or Le Point admitted their mistake and explained how this false rumour started.

The US ambassador was evacuated from Moldova

Diplomats from the US embassy in Moldova and the citizens of the United States were evacuated. More than that, the US Ambassador to Moldova, Dereck Hogan, went overseas on March 16, one day before the state of emergency was announced. Did he know anything?

Disproof

This is a false claim that capitalises on the coronavirus pandemic to spread a conspiracy theory about the US and specifically the US ambassador to Moldova. Spreading conspiracy theories about US in context of the coronavirus has emerged as a recurring theme in the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the outbreak.

After speculation emerged that Ambassador Dereck J. Hogan was leaving the country, the US Embassy published the following statement on its Facebook page: "The United States Embassy in Chisinau continues to operate. Ambassador Dereck J. Hogan and the Embassy's American and Moldovan staff members remain in Chisinau, working to maintain the strong bilateral relationship the United States and Moldova have enjoyed for years."

Germany called for lifting sanctions against Russia because of coronavirus

Germany called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia because of the coronavirus. Germany should rethink its attitude towards Russia and lift unproductive sanctions in light of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Disproof

Misleading title and the text that give readers the false impression that lifting sanctions on Russia is the position of the German authorities. It also pushes a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that sanctions against Russia are senseless and ineffective.

In fact, the sanctions from the US and the EU (including Germany) do not aim to punish Russia or the Russian people but were introduced to send a clear signal to the Russian government after Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, deployment of armed formations in eastern Ukraine, and the downing of the Malaysian passenger plane MH17.