As cases of the coronavirus increase around the world, there’s been a flurry of misleading or false news stories emerging, as well.
There have been relatively few confirmed cases of the virus in Africa so far, but the authorities in some countries in the continent are still having to deal with misinformation.
1. No, you don’t need to shave your beard to protect against the virus
An old graphic created by the US health authorities about facial hair and respirators has been used incorrectly to suggest men should shave off their beards to avoid catching the coronavirus.
The Nigerian Punch newspaper’s headline said: “To be safe from coronavirus, shave your beard, CDC warns”
We have added labels to the screenshots to indicate whether the story has been found to be “false” or used an “old photo”.
Stories about David Kingleo Elijah, from the Glorious Mount of Possibility Church started spreading online after a video of him saying he would move to China to “destroy” the virus was uploaded on YouTube and shared on other platforms.
“I am going prophetically to destroy coronavirus. I am going to China, I want to destroy coronavirus,” he says in the video.
A few days later, reports appeared in blogs alleging that he had travelled to China but had been admitted to hospital after contracting the virus. The blogs refer to the pastor under a different name – Elija Emeka Chibuke.
The photo used to show him in hospital is actually a photo of Adeshina Adesanya, a Nigerian actor popularly known as Pastor Ajidara, who died in hospital in 2017.
3. False posts about a taxi driver
A story about the Nigerian driver of a man diagnosed with coronavirus was posted on social media and shared by WhatsApp users – but is untrue.
According to the message, the taxi driver drove a “white man” diagnosed with coronavirus to a location that was quarantined. The Ogun state government then told the driver to go to hospital.
It was claimed the driver then tested positive for coronavirus – but escaped from hospital and threatened to spread the virus unless his family was paid 100m nairas ($274,000).
The report has been denied by the authorities.
The Ogun State government dismissed the claims in a statement, saying no patient had escaped from the isolation centre.
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