Disinfo: People in Belgium want schools to open so they don’t have to take care of their children

Summary

In Belgium, people are only interested in the dates when schools open again, so they don’t have to take care of their children more than they have to. And there are still opinions, even from doctors, that there was no need to close the schools.

Everyone is shocked that the theory that the coronavirus will be everywhere but will miraculously avoid Belgium has failed. 90 percent of the country believed that the coronavirus is no more than the flu.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and baseless accusations with no evidence provided. This is part of the ongoing pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus, which often involves attempts to portray the EU and European countries unable to deal effectively with the outbreak. In this case, the claim attacks the alleged incompetence and ignorance of Belgian people, without providing any evidence to back up its accusations.

This case also plays on the common pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of the West's alleged moral decay and rejection of traditional values, suggesting - again with no evidence - that Belgians "don't want to take care of their children". The notion of "threatened values" is one of the master narratives used in pro-Kremlin disinformation, in order to suggest that those committed to decency and traditionalism are under attack from liberal “tyranny”. This narrative is adapted to a wide range of topics and typically used to challenge progressive Western attitudes about the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBTQ groups, among others. It often aims to portray the West as depraved, an immoral actor that fights against traditional values, promotes deviant sexual behavior, and endangers societies.

All information from the Belgian government about the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available here and here.

For similar cases, see here, here, and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Czech
  • Country: Belgium
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Western values, European values

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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Disproof

Misleading headline.

What the pro-Kremlin media portrays as a widespread phenomenon is based on anecdotal evidence. For a more detailed debunk see reporting by BBC Russian service.

COVID-19: A large-scale sociological experiment to see how much repression the people will accept

The severe measures, justified or not, are a sort of large-scale “sociological experiment” which aims to see how much repression would people be willing to accept, for a vague justification, and how politicized could the entire situation be. It could potentially also show how far people can be pushed before there’s riots on the streets, and the lack of “entertainment” leads to people finding ways to “entertain” themselves. As it has been proven time and again, mob mentality dictates that “entertainment” usually means decapitating the elite.

Disproof

An unfounded conspiracy theory, sharing a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about "secret elites" controlling world leaders.

COVID-19 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 190 countries, territories and areas. The number of COVID-19 cases is closing up on 700,000 globally with over 33,000 deaths by 30 March 2020.

Frequent hand washing does not protect you from COVID-19

Doctor: Frequent hand washing does not protect you from COVID-19. Frequent hand washing does not protect against a coronavirus infection. The belief that frequent washing of hands repels the coronavirus does not seem to have a factual basis.

The former chief medical correspondent for NBC and CBS News says the current emphasis on frequent hand washing maintains a myth that has not yet been substantiated. He said: “You can wash your hands all day, but you will still get the coronavirus.”

Disproof

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

The WHO, the EU and its national health ministries, as well as all major international health organisations, 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.