Coronavirus

  • FACT-CHECK: Did Bill Gates Make a Presentation to the CIA on COVID-19 Vaccines?

    A leaked video claims that Bill Gates made a presentation to the CIA on COVID-19 vaccines for modifying the brain of religious fanatics

    The video is an old video that has been in circulation since at least June 2011. It resurfaced in May 2020. The speaker making a presentation on vaccines to the CIA is not Bill Gates, according to a spokesperson at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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    Bill Gates’ association with finding a COVID-19 vaccine has fueled a number of conspiracy theories and claims by people from various parts of the world.  One of such is a video which has recently been posted by an Internet user. In the four-minute video dated April 13, 2005, a man, purported to be Bill Gates, is seen making a presentation on vaccines for religious fanatics, to a group, purported to be the CIA. 

    The video, which was posted on May 20, 2020, and is also circulating on WhatsApp, is accompanied by a caption which reads:

    Leaked video of Bill Gates presentations to CIA in 2005. in brief… video discusses a PLANNED viral outbreak that would be followed up by vaccination program. vaccine to be the carrier for genetic modification chemical that would modify central brain of RELIGIOUS FANATICS. Then their focus was middle East…China’s Focus then and now are Christians. Bill Gates Foundation NOW focus is Africa & India. My humble opinion is COVID19 VACCINATIONS will be used as a carrier for GM the human race…

    Verification

    Dubawa found the same video on YouTube dated June 1, 2011. This clearer version reveals the face of the speaker, and it proves that the speaker in the video is not Bill Gates. 

    Furthermore, according to Reuters, an email from a spokesperson for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also confirmed that the speaker is not Bill Gates.

    Dubawa also has two main observations concerning the period of the video’s first circulation in June 2011. Firstly, the speaker in the video was not previously linked to Bill Gates but was considered part of a ‘leaked Pentagon video’. Yet, its recent re-circulation in May 2020 has been attributed to Gates, perhaps because of his involvement in an ongoing campaign for urgency to find  COVID-19 vaccines which are viewed with suspicion by some people.

    In addition, the video has, since its first circulation, been widely scrutinized by Internet users who have subjected it to different interpretations mainly of religion and science. Some articles suggest the content of the video to be the government of America’s ploy to alter human minds and control human behaviour. On the other hand, some checks state the video to possibly be an unfinished movie project called ‘FunVax’ by director Ryan Harper.

    While the intent of the video remains unconfirmed, it is certain the speaker in the video is not Bill Gates, contrary to the claim.

    Conclusion

    The supposed leaked video of Bill Gates’ presentation on COVID-19 vaccines to the CIA is false. The video, which has been in circulation since 2011, was initially purported to be a pentagon leaked video that is now being associated with Bill Gates. 

    Not only does the video itself clearly reveal that the presenter in the video is not Bill Gates, a spokesperson from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also confirmed that the speaker in the video is not Bill Gates.

  • FACT-CHECK: What does the word “confirmed” mean when used in relation to COVID-19 in Ghana?

    Confirmed cases are suspected cases of Covid-19 whereas those declared positive are people who actually have the Covid-19 virus. 

    Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are considered as confirmed cases. 

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    During a late-night discussion on UTV’s Late News Discussion on May 24, 2020, Kwame Baffoe Abronye, NPP Regional Chairman for Bono East, stated that coronavirus cases declared or placed under the ‘confirmed’ bracket actually refers to suspected cases while those under the ‘positive’ bracket are cases that have been taken through the necessary procedures and found to be carrying the coronavirus. 

    This claim was posted on Facebook and has so far garnered 6.3K views and 135 shares since the video was posted some 21 hours ago.

    “…the doctors say that when you see “confirmed”, it means they suspect but that doesn’t mean that the person has the coronavirus. Once you see that it means they suspect you have it, it doesn’t mean you have. We also have positive…we have three things: we have confirmed, positive and we have death. When you see “confirmed” it means it has gotten to the stage where they quarantine you to see if you have the disease in your system...We had the experts…we’ve had the former Director-General, Dr Nsiah-Asare, explain to us that when we see confirmed it does not mean the person has tested positive but that “confirmed” means we suspect it,” Mr Abronye said.

    When asked by the host of the show if the word “confirmed” really means a person does not have Covid-19, Mr Abronye responded that it depends on the interpretation one wants to give it. 

    But what do experts mean by “confirmed” in relation to Covid-19 cases?

    Verification

    Dubawa spoke to Dr James Aboagye, a postdoctoral fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Centre, who stated that from the Noguchi’s end, a confirmed case is a case that has tested positive. 

    A confirmed case is a positive case because what we are looking for is the virus and once a person is confirmed, he or she is positive for the virus,” Dr Aboagye said.

    He further stated that unlike suspected cases where the individual is assumed or thought to have the virus, confirmed cases are for scenarios where the individual tests positive for the virus after tests have been run. 

    The Public Relations Officer of Ghana Health Service (GHS), Jacob Andoh, said a person who has been tested and found positive is the same as a confirmed case. 

    A confirmed case is the same as a positive case,” Mr Andoh said.

    Case definitions or classifications for diagnosis

    The WHO case classifications are categorized into suspected cases, probable cases and confirmed cases.

    Suspected Case refers to three situations: 1) a patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and a history of travel to or residence in a location reporting community transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset; 2) a patient with any acute respiratory illness and has been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to symptom onset; and 3) a patient with severe acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease, e.g., cough, shortness of breath, requiring hospitalization) and in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that fully explains the clinical presentation. 

    Probable Case: A suspect case for whom testing for the COVID-19 virus is inconclusive or a suspect case for whom testing could not be performed for any reason. 

    Confirmed Case: A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. 

    The CDC also categorises Covid-19 diagnoses into three stages: 

    Person Under Investigation: This is a person who has exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 and is in the process of being tested. 

    Presumptive Positive: This is an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 at a state or local laboratory. At least one respiratory sample must be positive for a case to be labelled presumptive positive.

    Confirmed Positive: This is a person who tested positive for COVID-19 at a CDC laboratory. At least one respiratory sample must be positive by the CDC for it to be labelled confirmed positive. 

    In Ghana, reports on the coronavirus surveillance are based on the confirmed cases, recoveries, and deaths as seen on the GHS website. Confirmed cases have been regarded as positive cases and not suspected as claimed by Mr Abronye.

    Conclusion

    Therefore, Mr Abroye’s incorrect claim on the definition of ‘confirmed’ cases is a misleading semantic confusion that should be disregarded. 

    WHO’s classifications are unambiguous and remain the standard for the whole world facing the same virus. The denotative meaning of the word confirm in English–British or American–dictionary is semantically too distant from ‘suspect’ in standard English usage. 

  • The facts about Madagascar – quitting WHO, and a $20million offer to poison Covid-organics

    Madagascar quits the World Health Organisation (WHO) and has been offered 20 million dollars by the WHO to kill their Covid-Organics cure.

    Madagascar has neither quit the WHO nor has WHO offered it 20 million dollars to kill the country’s herbal drink, Covid-Organics. This was confirmed by the WHO country offices in Madagascar and in Ghana. Also, the France 24 interview purporting to be the source of both claims reveals no such information.

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    Madagascar has recently made the headlines with the introduction and launch of their locally manufactured herbal drink ‘Covid-Organics’, as a cure for Covid-19. The cure, which has been embraced by some African leaders, has, however, been cautioned by the WHO for the reason that it has not yet been scientifically tested for its efficacy. 

    Online publications on Madagascar’s Covid-Organics and the WHO have included two main claims: one purporting that Madagascar has left the WHO, and another stating that the WHO has offered Madagascar’s president, Andry Rajoelina, 20 million dollars to poison Covid-Organics.

    The case of Madagascar quitting the WHO

    According to the claim, Mr Rajoelina has announced that his country has withdrawn its membership of the organisation and has further advised all other Africans to follow suit, by allegedly explaining that, “Europe created organisations with the desire for Africans to remain dependent on them.”

    Other articles that have also made this claim referenced an interview the Mr Rajoelina had on France 24 to be the source of the president’s announcement to quit the WHO.

    The case of WHO offering Madagascar $20 million to poison Covid-Organics

    According to the claim, Mr Rajoelina has announced yet again that the WHO offered him 20 million dollars to put a little toxin in the Covid-Organics because Europeans have hacked the Covid-19 cure. He allegedly cautioned that, “People be vigilant, the World Health Organization that we have joined by thinking that it will help us, is there to kill Africans”. 

    Several other articles that have also published this claim have attributed the source of the claim to a Tanzanian local newspaper, ‘Tanzania Perspective’. In addition, a Kiswahili-based local newspaper, ‘Fahari Yetu’, which shares the same publishers with the Tanzania Perspective, also published this claim, indicating that the source of the Madagascar president’s declaration is the interview he had on France 24.

    Verification

    Dubawa found the interview with France 24 where Mr Rajoelina is purported to have made both claims. In the interview, the president of Madagascar is seen addressing the criticisms Covid-Organics had received so far. He stated that it was because the cure was from Madagascar and not from a European country that such sceptical reactions have been given to the cure. Mr Rajoelina stated in the France 24 interview that, “No country or organisation will keep us from going forward.”

    In the interview, however, the president of Madagascar made no mention whatsoever of the withdrawal of his country from the WHO nor of any 20 million dollar offer from the WHO to poison the Covid-Organics as purported.

    Meanwhile, Madagascar is currently listed under the  African countries that the WHO operates in, indicating that the country is still a member of the organisation.

    Dubawa further contacted the WHO country offices in Ghana and Madagascar to verify both claims. Both offices stated that both claims were false. 

    “The information is not true,” the WHO Ghana office stated, in response to the organisation’s alleged 20 million dollar offer to the Madagascar president. 

    “It is absolutely fake news. Madagascar is still a member of the board for the past three years now,’’ the WHO Madagascar office confirmed when asked about Madagascar’s membership of the WHO. 

    Conclusion

    The claims stating that Madagascar has quit the World Health Organisation, and has been offered 20 million dollars by the organisation to kill the Covid-Organics project is false. 

    The interview purporting to be the source of the president of Madagascar’s declaration of both claims does not reveal any such information. Furthermore, the WHO country offices in both Ghana and Madagascar have also stated that both claims are false.

  • Masking Up Against Covid-19: The Changing Narrative

    From the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, discussions on ways to mitigate the spread of the disease have been rife. Key among the topics generating information output is how individuals can cost-effectively protect themselves using face, medical or surgical masks to avoid contracting the disease. Some have gone as far as suggesting that some articles of clothing like underwears can be used as protective coverings against the coronavirus. This is not surprising as the price of surgical and medical masks have increased significantly since the onset of the pandemic.

    There have, however, been varied and changing views on whether or not facial protective items should be worn by all or some and how it should be worn. 

    The Changing Narrative

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health authorities including the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not, at the outset of Covid-19, recommend the use of face masks by healthy individuals in the community setting, restricting its use to only persons infected by the virus, their caregivers, and frontline workers. This stance, according to the WHO, is based on the lack of evidence available on its usefulness in protecting people who are not Covid-19 positive. 

    The WHO still maintains that healthy individuals need not use medical masks as they are to be prioritized for healthcare workers.  It has, however, given the go-ahead for decision-makers to implement the use of nonmedical masks by citizens. 

    The CDC, on the other hand, has approved now the use of cloth face masks. According to the organisation, recent studies show that individuals who are asymptomatic and those who do not show early symptoms may transmit the virus before they start to show. Therefore, the wearing of masks can help slow the spread of the virus in areas that do not enable appropriate social distancing. 

    Types of masks and the upsurge in cloth masks

    Various types of face masks are being used to curb the spread of Covid-19. Key among them are the recommended medical masks for health care facilities which are the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified N95, European Union (EU) standard FFP2, or equivalent. 

    Non-medical masks or cloth face coverings have also gained popularity following the shortage of medical masks. They are not considered to be medical because they have not been tested for fluid resistance, filtration efficiency, that is, particulate filtration and bacterial filtration efficiency, flammability and biocompatibility. This type of mask is what has been approved by the CDC for communal use by healthy individuals. 

    Some specifications for Masks

    Generally, medical or surgical masks should meet some basic requirements to be effective in providing protection to the user. For instance, an appropriate medical or surgical mask should help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatters that may contain viruses and bacteria from reaching the nose and mouth. Additionally, masks should be able to block very small particles in the air, transmitted through coughs, medical procedures etc.  The material used for producing these masks must NOT be permeable to droplets and the finished mask should not be loose-fitting.

    In relation to the use of cloth face coverings, it is recommended that each mask meet certain requirements to be regarded as somewhat effective; they should be made from breathable materials, be made with multiple layers of fabric/tissue, be water or fluid repellent and should fit firmly around the nose and mouth.

    Improper use of Masks

    As the wearing of these facial coverings has been established and the face masks are being used by the general public, other problems have been identified. 

    First among these problems is the location of the mask on the face of the wearer. In Ghana, people have been seen wearing their masks on their chins, hanging on their necks or covering the mouth and leaving the nose uncovered. All these are wrong ways of wearing masks especially if the intention is to protect yourself and others.  See the correct way of wearing the face masks/ face covering below.

    Photo credit: Pulse.com

    Secondly, people have been seen wearing the masks even while alone in their cars or not in close quarters with other individuals. This is however not necessary unless you are in the car with other people. Experts have reported on when it is necessary to wear face masks and for what duration they should be worn.

    Conclusion

    As wearing face masks is new to many people, it is something that will take a lot of conscious effort to do and be done right as it may be uncomfortable for many. However, it is important to note that wearing these masks is NOT a proven solution to safeguarding oneself from the virus, as disregarding the rules associated with its use can be just as harmful to the user as not wearing it in the first place. Proper pre-use, use and post-use procedures like frequent washing and correct removal methods, need to be followed and the WHO has information on that here

    It is still important that the prescribed hand washing and sanitizing protocols be observed to curb the continuous spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, healthcare personnel and individuals, who use these medical masks and cloth face coverings should follow the appropriate use and disposal methods. 

  • Is the Failure to Wear A Mask In Public Places A Criminal Offence in Ghana?

    Not wearing a mask in public places is a criminal offence – viral social media messages

    The viral WhatsApp message is legislation issued on 6 April 2020 in Kenya for offenders who contravene the rule to properly wear masks in public places. Neither the government of Ghana nor any mainstream media in Ghana have so far communicated such information. 

    Full text

    Subsequent to the lifting of the partial lockdown by the president of Ghana, Akufo-Addo, the government announced enhanced measures to control the spread of the Coronavirus in Ghanaian communities. One of such measures includes the wearing of nose masks by citizens in public places. This measure has further been enforced with a compulsory ‘No Mask, No Entry’ policy in public places by the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey, in a press statement and by authorities in other parts of the country. 

    A viral message circulating on WhatsApp and other platforms in the country takes this further. It states that failure to wear a mask in public places is a criminal offence liable to a fine of 20,000 or 6-month imprisonment or both. The full message reads:

    “It has finally been gazetted. Failure to wear a mask while in a Public place is actually a criminal offence. Section 6(1)(b) as read with section 11 of the Regulations. If found guilty you can be liable to a fine of 20,000/= or imprisonment for 6 months or both. Failure to wear a mask in a public or private transport and public transport operators Section 5(4) must wear mask. So don’t say you were not warned. Share widely with friends so that they should not leave the house without a mask. Public place means stepping outside your house. So, take precautions.”

    Verification

    Dubawa found that the same post has been shared on Facebook with comments indicating that the message originates from Kenya. 

    Further checks show the legislation was enacted in Kenya and not Ghana as the messages sought to suggest.

    Google checks revealed that Kenyan media outlets here, here, and here published articles on the penalty of not wearing face masks between 9 and 15 April 2020.

    Their publications indicated that the Kenyan government had issued a gazette stating that citizens were required to wear a proper nose mask that covers their mouth and nose. Anyone who contravened the rules was considered to have committed an offence liable to a fine not exceeding 20,000 shillings, imprisonment not exceeding 6-months or both. 

    Dubawa further found a copy of the Kenya Gazette Supplement No 41, a special issue on 6 April 2020, which according to some Kenyan media here, here was signed by the Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe. 

    The photo below shows the section of the Kenya Gazette which states: the rule to wear a proper nose mask to cover both nose and mouth (4), an act of offence if it is contravened (5) and the penalty of a fine not exceeding 20, 000 shilling, imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or both if the offence is committed (11)

    Screenshot of the legislation found online

    Dubawa also noted that the viral WhatsApp message purported to be a new legislation in Ghana states the fine of 20, 000 and does not include the currency of Ghana (cedis) to it. 

    Meanwhile, the government of Ghana has not issued any official statement to communicate this purported new legislation on the penalty of not wearing masks in public places. Neither has any mainstream Ghanaian media published on such information.

    Conclusion

    The viral message circulating on Ghanaian WhatsApp outlets threatening to fine and or imprison offenders who fail to wear masks in public places is misleading. The message is new legislation on a Public Health Act against Coronavirus in Kenya, issued on 6 April 2020. Neither the government of Ghana nor Ghanaian mainstream media have conveyed any such information to citizens. Nonetheless, though the failure to wear masks may not be a criminal offence in Ghana, Ghana still has a compulsory ‘No Mask, No Entry’ directive for entering public places, to help control the spread of the virus in the county.

  • Viral Hotspot List Not From Ghana Health Service

    List of coronavirus infection hotspots in Ghana released – social media platforms

    The Ghana Health Service says the list is fake and should be disregarded. It is not a list of places declared as “hotspots” for coronavirus infections in Ghana.

    Full Text:

    A list of “coronavirus hotspot areas’ in Ghana is circulating on social media, specifically on WhatsApp.  The list names areas like Agbogbloshie, Tema Community One, Nungua market, Agbogba area and Nima market among many others as places with the highest coronavirus infection rates in the country.

    Verification

    Dubawa spoke to Mr Jacob Andoh, Public Relations Officer at Ghana Health Service (GHS). According to Mr Andoh, the list is FAKE

    “It didn’t come from GHS and we do not know where it came from. Everything we want the public to know is on the website. If it is not on the website, then it is not from us”, Mr Andoh said.

    He also forwarded to us the image below.

    The Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Aboagye, had mentioned some districts as hotspots during the COVID-19 bi-weekly briefings on Tuesday. He, however, did not name specific areas in the districts.

    Further checks on the GHS website reveal no such list.

    The Ministry of Information has also not announced or published any such list on their social media channels or website. 

    Conclusion

    The Ghana Health Service or the Ministry of Information has not released any list indicating areas in Ghana that have been declared as coronavirus infection hotspots. 

  • Facts counter John Mahama’s false claim on IMF assistance to Togo, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire

    Togo, Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire have not quickly run to the IMF for financial assistance to fight the coronavirus pandemic – John Mahama

    The IMF is providing financial assistance to countries to help address the economic impact of COVID-19. The countries mentioned by John Mahama, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Rwanda, have all applied to and have been given financial assistance from the Fund.

    Full Text

    #JohnMahamaLied is being pushed on Twitter by users. The hashtag is accompanied by a clip of the former president’s John Mahama’s Live question and answer session, dubbed “A Digital Conversation with John Mahama on Health Care & Infrastructure”, which held on April 30. 

    The former President, during the live session which was viewed on his social media accounts and on TV, suggested that some African countries, specifically Togo, Rwanda and Ivory Coast have not ‘run’ to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance to deal with the COVID-19.

    Between  51:08 minutes to 53:15minutes of the live feed, Mr Mahama responded to a viewer’s question on a statement he had previously made concerning the economy where he had said the country’s economy is in intensive care unit (ICU).

    “The NPP has not taken kindly to your statement that the Ghanaian economy is in ICU. They claim that you should know better that it is not only the Ghanaian economy that has taken a hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but that is the world over”  the viewer commented.

    In response to this, Mr Mahama said,

    “Well, we have other African countries to learn from. We said our economy was so robust and was the fastest growing in Africa and all that. Ask yourself, how many African countries have run quickly to the IMF to go and look for relief? You know, we have next door, our neighbours Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and so many other African countries. If we had one of the best economies, why, within only three weeks, you know our economy was almost on the verge of going on its knees and we had eaten kenkey and celebrated leaving the IMF. We quickly run back to the IMF, you know… I don’t know whether we will eat kenkey and celebrate going back to the IMF to go and seek relief.” 

    Verification

    The IMF is providing emergency financial assistance and debt relief to member countries whose economies have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund is deploying USD 1 Trillion to member countries. With over 102 countries calling on the fund for emergency financing, the asks by some 21 Sub-Saharan African countries have been approved. Among these 20 countries are Ghana and the other three countries mentioned by the former president — Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and Togo. It is important to note that these countries applied for different forms of financial aid from the IMF.

    Rwanda was the first African country to secure an emergency coronavirus funding from the IMF. The IMF announced on April 2 that its executive board had approved the disbursement of US$109.4 million to be drawn under the Rapid Credit Facility to the country to address COVID-19 impact. Rwanda was the first sub-Saharan African country to enforce total lockdown after it recorded its index case on March 8.

    Togo has also received support from the IMF to address the impact of coronavirus on its economy. The executive board of the IMF  on April 3 allowed the immediate disbursement of US$131.3 million to Togo to help address the economic and human implications posed by the pandemic. Togo was the eighth African country to record the coronavirus disease with its first case registered on March 6

    Côte d’Ivoire confirmed and announced its first case of the coronavirus on March 11 after many suspected cases between January and March. The country was the eighth in Sub-Saharan Africa to confirm the coronavirus. On April 17, Côte d’Ivoire was approved for a Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and a Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to the tune of USD 295.4 million and USD 590.8 million respectively.

    Ghana also received approval for a Rapid Credit Facility to the tune of USD 1 billion on April 13.

    Conclusion

    Many countries have sought financial assistance from the IMF in their bid to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.  Contrary to Mr Mahama’s claim, Togo, Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire have received financial assistance from the IMF to address the impact of COVID-19 on their economies.

  • Were Ghanaian ‘kayayei’ caught washing and selling used surgical facemasks?

    Ghanaian women head porters otherwise called ‘Kayayei’ were caught washing used surgical masks with the intention of selling to unsuspecting Ghanaians – social media posts

    While the accompanying photos are true, the incident did not happen in Ghana but in Mozambique.

    Full Text

    Face masks are in high demand in Ghana following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, just as personal protective equipment (PPE) are in short supply after the onset of the pandemic.

    A recent social media post showing surgical face masks scattered on the floor with some women washing them have gone viral. 

    The texts accompanying the photos claim the women are Ghanaian head porters popularly known as ‘kayayei’ who were captured secretly washing used surgical face masks retrieved from refuse dumps with plans to resell them in traffic. 

    A post on Facebook said; “Please be careful you do not buy any face masks in traffic. These kayayei pick them from refuse dumps wash them and resell them in traffic”. Please, we here at KLC will advice any Ghanaian up there to purchase face mask from store or the pharmacy or any authorized vendor whom you think is worthy to sell them. Picture below: Beware Stay safe Corona Virus is real.” 

    The same post has also been shared multiple times on WhatsApp and Twitter. 

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\Facemask false.JPG
    Source: Twitter

    Verification

    To verify this claim, we used Google Image search to find all samples of the exact images uploaded online. We also identified older versions of the photos and found that they first surfaced online on 18th April 2020. 

    We also used phrases from the accompanying texts to confirm the exact source of the message using the First Tweet app.   

    The search pointed to a Mozambican journalist, Alexandre Nhampossa, tweeting via @AllexandreMZ.

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\Face mask MOZ.JPG
    Source: Twitter

    The journalist indicated to us, when we contacted him, that the photos were taken in the Dondo Municipality of Sofala Province in Mozambique. 

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\Chat 1.JPG

    According to a statement shared by the Dondo City Council, the two women in the picture were workers in a Chinese-owned shipyard warehouse. They had been engaged by their employers to wash the disposable surgical masks which had been damaged by rains in the warehouse. 

    The masks were to be sold later but the city authorities upon a tip-off, moved in to arrest the situation, seized the masks and incinerated them at a dumpsite.  

    C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\chat 2.JPG

    Conclusion

    While it is true that the women captured in the images were busted washing disposed surgical masks, the incident did not happen in Ghana and the people involved are not head porters.  

  • Again, media reports misrepresented Bill Gates comment on mass gathering, vaccination

    Bill Gates says there will be no public/mass gatherings in the light of COVID19 pandemic until everyone is vaccinated – Facebook post

    A comment by Bill Gates during an interview was misrepresented.  Mr Gates, in response to a question, said the U.S. government needs to prioritise and decide which activities to allow should it decide to open up the country after weeks of lockdown. Mass gatherings, he said, is not an option now and might not come back until people are widely vaccinated. 

    Full Text

    Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates, has been in the news over various issues since the coronavirus pandemic began. 

    One of the most recent claims circulating on social media is that Mr Gates stated that there will be no public gatherings until every human in the world has been vaccinated. This post has circulated on many platforms including Facebook, generating a wide range of highly disparaging comments against Mr Gates’ personality. Comments on this post include calls for God’s judgement on Mr Gates. See another similar post here.

    These comments are not far off from those related to a long line of posts linking Mr Gates to 5G, coronavirus and the biblical mark of the beast (666). 

    The post quoting Mr Gates as saying public gatherings will not return until everyone receives the coronavirus vaccine is, however, misleading.

    Source: Facebook
    Source: Facebook

    Verification

    Mr Gates has made many appearances in the media in recent times.  In relation to this particular claim, Dubawa found that portions of Mr Gates’ interview on CBS This Morning, with host Anthony Mason in which he called for nationwide social isolation policy to slow the spread of coronavirus, have been misrepresented.

    The interview was based largely on Mr Gates’ views on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and measures already in place to mitigate further spread. During the interview, he called for a nationwide social isolation policy to slow the spread of the pandemic and for the federal government to prioritise testing.

    The conversation leading to the generation of these posts stemmed from Mr Gates’ concern about the U.S. government’s response to the pandemic. According to Mr Gates, an issue that his foundation’s experts and the United States government are in discussions about is what opening up will look like even if the government and the agencies at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 are able to get coronavirus cases numbers down.

    He suggested that there could be reinfection globally if some activities like mass gatherings are restored unconditionally, that is without regard to the significance of mass vaccination.

    The transcript of the show was posted on April 2, 2020. It revealed some parts of the conversation between Mr Gates and Mr Mason. Watch the extended interview here.

    After a careful review of the transcript, we were able to identify the portion of the conversation from which the claim being fact-checked was selected by the author of the claim under scrutiny here. Below is an excerpt of that  interview :

    Mason: …is there anything that’s really surprised you about what’s happened?

    Gates: You know, I thought we would respond a bit faster. …what we’re doing, how we’re having to change the economy here in order to drop the number of cases, it’s, you know, it’s really unprecedented… Even the issue of once you get the cases numbers down… but what does opening up look like? You know, which activities have, like schools, have such benefit and can be done in a way that the risk of transmission is very low?

    Mason: Yeah.

    Gates: And which activities, like mass gatherings, may be— in a certain sense— more optional. And so until you’re widely vaccinated, those may not come back at all.

    Mynorthwest.com published an article on the interview where the author, Nick Bowman, correctly stated what Mr Gates said in the interview by titling it, “Bill Gates- Mass gatherings might not return until we get coronavirus vaccine.” 

    Conclusion

    Mr Gates has made his views on the ongoing pandemic known on many occasions. In this particular instance, what he said has been misrepresented. Mr Gates said that there may be the need to ensure wide vaccination of people before mass gatherings can be allowed, to avoid reinfection.

  • News Headlines Misrepresented Minister’s Comment on Curfew, Lockdown

    Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah warns Ghanaians that a total lockdown and curfew will be imposed soon – news websites

    The headlines of the news reports are misleading. The Information Minister has not announced or warned Ghanaians on an impending curfew and total lockdown.

    Full Text

    Messages sent to Dubawa via WhatsApp, and as seen posted on some media such as kubilive.com and being shared on Facebook, state that the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said that there will soon be an imposition of a total lockdown and curfew in the country. This is present the headlines of articles published by media platforms.

    The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo on Sunday, April 19th, 2020, announced the lifting of the partial lockdown. The decision he said, was, among others, based on the country’s ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons, the enhancement of its capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of treatment and isolation centres, and a better understanding of the dynamism of the virus. 

    Following the lifting of the lockdown, people, as captured on videos, jubilated on the streets without adhering to the laid down social distancing protocols. This has led to a great worry in the country.

    After the president’s announcement, the information minister gave an interview to the ‘Kokrokoo’ morning show on Peace FM, where he said:

    If we continue adhering to the other measures, we don’t expect a spike in infections. The 14 other regions where there was no lockdown, we didn’t see any spike, but if we keep going according to the rules, we are sure there will be no spikes. But if we observe that people are being stubborn, not following the directives and other measures and a spike is identified; that is what the President meant that lockdown and curfew will be put in place. This will be more draconian than the partial lockdown in Accra… So if people feel that they are going to go about doing whatever they want in town, they should know that they put us at the risk of lockdown and curfew.”

    Verification

    But the news platforms cited above gave misleading headlines in their reporting of the minister’s comment. Whereas the headlines state emphatically that the Minister alerted Ghanaians of an upcoming curfew and total lockdown, the content (body) of the stories indicate the fact that the possibility of that happening is subject to certain conditions.

    An example is the story from ghpage.com has the headline “COVID-19: A total lockdown and a curfew will be imposed soon- Oppong Nkrumah warns Ghanaians”. 

    However, the content of the story states as follows:

    “Ghana’s Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has sent out a strong warning to Ghanaians; saying if they flout other measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus and there is a spike of infections, a more stringent measure will be enforced.”

    Dubawa contacted the Ministry of Information to ascertain the truth behind the posts. According to the Minister’s office, the claim being circulated is false and actions are being taken to correct the misinformation. 

    We also found that what the Minister said was based on a caveat in the President’s speech of April  19.

    Should there be an unexpected outburst in infections within a community, I have put the health workers and the security services, including the Police Service and the Armed 7 Forces, on standby, to co-ordinate a rapid response of human and logistical resources, if necessary, to cordon, impose a curfew, trace, test, and treat infected persons in the affected community,” the President said.

    It is important to note that the minister conditioned his statement by saying “IF”, which means that the possibility of a curfew being imposed is based on the ability of Ghanaians to comply with the established protocols. Some news sites did not, however, reflect that caveat in their headlines. 

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