Disinfo: The coronavirus is surprisingly selective

Summary

The virus passes over states not involved in major issues of world politics, and is spreading on territories where the global stakeholders’ interests collide. Of course, other countries are affected, but the virus does not present any danger for them.

The virus has selected China, Iran, Italy and Spain as targets. Stuck between Spain and Italy is France. Their neighbours are affected less, if affected at all. In Mongolia on 23 March there was only one case, though the country is populated by as many Chinese as Mongolians and the borders between China and Mongolia have remained open.

Disproof

An baseless conspiracy theory with no evidence given. For accurate and up-to-date data on the spread of COVID-19, see the sites of the European Centre for Disease Control or the World Health Organisation.

See related disinformation cases downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic, like that the mainstream media and governments overestimate the coronavirus threat and that the coronavirus outbreak is a lie.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Italy, Mongolia, China, US, France, Spain
  • Keywords: coronavirus, 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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Coronavirus is a US virus that went out of control

We cannot exclude the hypothesis that coronavirus is an American made virus that has gone out of control and a part of it went back to the US.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. There is no evidence that suggests that the virus is used as a weapon against other states.

This Coronavirus comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold and viruses such as SARS and MERS, and the medical Journal “Emerging Microbes & Infections” specifically said that there is “no credible evidence supporting claims of the laboratory engineering”.

The EU is dead, it can’t take control over the coronavirus crisis

The European Union is actually dead. In this critical moment, it was not able to offer people anything. All countries closed their borders and reestablished border control. The EU ceased to exist for a while.

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.

Globalism and the mythical unity of the West have begun to crash

In a pandemic and systemic crisis, the foundation of globalism – the mythical unity of the West, began to crash. Western countries began not only to be quarantined from each other, but slid into a completely egoistic policies. They refuse to help their EU partners with medical supplies and financial support.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU's alleged imminent collapse.

One of the main pro-Kremlin narratives relating to the pandemic is that the EU is failing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and, as a result, is disintegrating, together with the border-free Schengen area. In particular, this narrative of failure and lack of EU solidarity is trending after the delivery of Russian aid to Italy.