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  • Video of Zimbabwe Police Brutality not Related to Coronavirus

    Zimbabwe Police Use force to Dispel Recalcitrant Churches – Viral Whatsapp messages

    False; the video is neither related to the coronavirus nor church activities. It is a November 2019 video of Zimbabwean police dispersing supporters of the main opposition political party.

    Full Text

    A video circulating on social media shows Police officers chasing and beating up men and women with batons. 

    “Zimbabwe Police dealing with the church that refused to take instructions of closing for Corona virus (Koro),” the caption of the video on Whatsapp reads.

    For a section of Ghanaians, churches who flout President Akufo-Addo’s directives on mass gatherings should suffer the same punishment.

    The President last week banned public gatherings and suspended schools in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.

    The video has been shared on several WhatsApp pages, on Instagram and on Twitter. Whatsapp users who shared it with Dubawa say it was also part of a news item by a popular television station.  

    Verification

    Yes, the video was taken in Zimbabwe. And yes, it shows Police using force and brutality against members of the public.

    However, it is neither related to the coronavirus nor to any religious activity or group. 

    A 2019 news report by Reuters explains that the incident occurred on November 20, 2019, and shows brutality meted on supporters of Zimbabwe’s main opposition political party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The supporters had gathered at their party headquarters to listen to a speech by their leader Nelson Chamisa on November 20, 2019.

    Additionally, news organisations including the Guardian news and Aljazeera also carried the story last year.

    To further verify, DUBAWA contacted Zimfact, a fact-checking platform in Zimbabwe. 

    “This was police breaking up opposition supporters, Nov 20, 2019,” Zimfact said.

  • Coronavirus: Ghana Confirms One death, Shuts All Borders

    With effect midnight Sunday, March 22, 2020, Ghana will close all its borders to human traffic. The closure, however, will not apply to goods, supplies and cargo. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a televised address on Saturday disclosed that the move is to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.

    “All our borders, that is, by land, sea and air, will be closed to human traffic for the next two weeks beginning midnight on Sunday,” he said.

    All travellers arriving in the country before midnight on Sunday will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine and Covid-19 testing.

    “Anybody who comes into the country before on Sunday will be mandatorily quarantined and tested for the virus,” President Nana Akufo-Addo added.

    Ghana’s Minister for Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, had earlier disclosed that travellers from high-risk countries with more than 200 cases of the Covid-19 would not be allowed into the country. The only exceptions were Ghanaian citizens and persons with Ghana residence permits.

    Confirmed cases

    Ghana’s index cases of the coronavirus were announced on March 12. 

    Twenty-one cases have been confirmed as at 21:15 GMT March 21. One death was announced by the president in his address. Existing cases are therefore currently 20.

    “Unfortunately one person who tested positive for the virus, but had serious underlying health complications, passed away in the early hours of today,” President Akufo-Addo said.

    He said all the others are responding to treatment. Eight of them are being managed from their homes in isolation.

  • Will drinking water and gargling with saline solution or vinegar eliminate the Coronavirus?

    A Facebook post suggests that drinking lots of water and gargling with warm water and salt or vinegar eliminates the coronavirus.

    The claim has not been corroborated by any health institution. The WHO says there is currently no specific treatment, drug or vaccine for the Covid-19, although some home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms.

    A viral Facebook post proffers yet another remedy for the new coronavirus, COVID-19. How? Simply drink lots of and gargle with warm water and salt or vinegar and you are good to go.

    DUBAWA looked into these claims and found no evidence to back them.

    Verification

    According to the World Health Organisation, the incubation period for Covid-19, that is, the period between contracting the virus and exhibiting symptoms ranges between one and 14 days. Symptoms however commonly appear after around five days.

    How does the virus work?

    The virus works by getting inside and taking over the cells of the body.  It first infects the cells lining the throat, airways and lungs and turns them into “coronavirus factories”. The “coronavirus factories” then spew out huge numbers of new viruses that go to infect more cells.

    Will gargling saline solution eliminate the virus?

    This claim has not been corroborated by any health institution. 

    Gargling may soothe a sore throat, a symptom of the new coronavirus. In fact, NHS recommends gargling with warm saline water for adults suffering from sore throats. However, there is no evidence that it kills the virus. The Covid-19, according to Chinese health workers, invades the respiratory tract and therefore cannot be cleaned gargling. 

    Indeed, the WHO, in its Q&A about coronavirus on twitter debunked a similar question of whether gargling mouthwash can protect one from COVID-19. 

    How about drinking lots of Water? Drinking a lot of water and staying hydrated is advised especially when one is unwell. However, it does not prevent coronavirus infection.

    Cures for the Covid-19?

    The Organisation says there is currently “no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019.” Clinical trials are however ongoing to find a solution to the disease.

    It adds that “some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19.”

    WHO’s standard recommendations to prevent infection spread of coronavirus 

    • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
    • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
    • Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider.
  • COVID-19 Fact Sheet

    Coronavirus is a disease that causes damage to the respiratory tract when it is attached to the cells in the lining of the lungs causing damage to it. When the virus enters the body, the patient begins to experience mild symptoms of dry cough, shortness of breath, fever, headache, muscle pain and tiredness compared to ordinary flu.

    Key facts

    • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome( SARS-Cov).
    •  This disease is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.
    • It is also a new strain discovered in 2019, which has not been [previously identified in humans.
    • WHO reports of no official vaccines yet for COVID-19; neither is there a cure, even though there are potential treatments, these are not definitive.
    • The best way to prevent being infected is to take necessary preventive measures.

    Prevalence

    • Covid-19 has affected 222,643 thousand people globally, with older people more susceptible to the disease.
    • Reports place the death toll at 9,1115 with over 84506 recovered patients.
    • Coronavirus is now pandemic which has killed over 9.115 persons with 84506 recoveries made. 
    • There are mild cases and severe ones as well. The mild ones are due to the response of the body’s immune system and its ability to contain the virus. ( mostly in young adults).

    Causes & Symptoms

    The disease Covid19 is caused by the virus designated, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). So far, health experts suggest respiratory droplets from an individual to be a prominent method of transmission. It can also be transmitted if a person touches the surface that houses the infected droplets and then touches any sensitive openings of the body, i.e. mouth, nose and eyes. So far, these are the known symptoms:

    • Respiratory illness
    • Fever
    • Dry cough,
    • Sneezing
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Body Aches
    • Runny nose
    • Sore throat

    How does it spread?

    1. Coronavirus spreads through direct contact: Respiratory droplets of “an infected” person or by touching surfaces that are contaminated.
    2. The symptoms include coughing, sneezing, etc.
    3. Wear a mask if: infected or display respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) to protect others; if not, there is no need to wear a mask. 
    4. There is no cure yet.

    “How can my family and I stay safe?”

    1. Wash your hands frequently: Regular and thorough handwashing with soap under running water at intervals is an essential way to prevent being infected. Health institutes have surmised the “happy birthday” song is the duration it takes for handwashing. 
    2. Regular use of hand sanitizer: WHO also advises we utilise alcohol-based sanitizers; this is especially important in scenarios where we cannot practice frequent handwashing. Note, this is a simple alternative (where necessary) and not a replacement to basic hand hygiene (handwashing). Some people choose to utilise both methods; this is not compulsory.
    3. Maintain social distancing: Avoid at all cost anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness like coughing and sneezing, cold or general flu-like symptoms. The rationale behind this being that the flu droplets from such person may contain the virus, and you risk infection from inhaling said droplets.
    4. The deliberate effort of not touching eyes, nose and mouth: Your hands’ unavoidably touches many surfaces and can pick the virus up. The contaminated hands if not washed, can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth, which is easy access for the virus to enter the body.
    5. Practice excellent and continuous respiratory hygiene: Make sure to practice good respiratory hygiene that is, covering your mouth with a flexed elbow when sneezing or coughing, or with a paper tissue and dispose of immediately.

    Are you feeling sick with flu-like symptoms? Do not panic. Stay home and seek urgent medical attention.

  • Uber Services Have NOT been suspended in Accra

    Uber Services in Suspended in Accra until further notice – Viral WhatsApp Message.

    Uber Services are still available in Accra and other parts of the country. 

    Full text

    The Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service, Dr Badu Sarkodie in a press briefing on Sunday, March 15, 2020, announced that the number of Covid-19 cases has increased to six. Later that evening, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo addressed the nation on measures taken to control the spread of the virus. They include the Ministry of Transport working with transport unions and public and private transport operations to ensure enhanced hygienic conditions in all cars and terminals.

    On the same day, a message started circulating on WhatsApp stating that Uber services have been suspended in Accra until further notice. It purports to be a press release from the Uber Drivers Association. The message titled “UBER SERVICES SUSPENDED IN ACCRA UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE” was signed by Alex Joy Vifa who was noted as the Secretary for the association. A contact number, 0550359901, was included in the message.

    According to the message, the decision to suspend Uber services in Accra was taken due to the spread of the coronavirus in Accra.

    “This decision was taken due the spread of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID 19) in Accra. As at Sunday, 15th March 2020, Ghana has recorded 4 new cases of Coronavirus. In that regard, a total of 6 cases have been recorded so far,” the release said.

    “Our services that we render to our riders in Ghana always expose us to the deadly disease. It is also a fact that we are not adequately prepared to detect, manage and prevent the spread of the disease. All these make drivers and riders vulnerable and susceptible to the COVID 19. We will put our lives and that of riders in danger when we continue our services,” it continued.

    News portals such as bbcghana.com have proceeded to make news articles based on the viral message, with a headline stating that Uber services have been suspended in Accra.

    Verification

    Dubawa could not speak to Alex Joy Vifa of the Uber Drivers Association for verification as the number advertised in the release is incorrect.

    The Country Manager for Uber Ghana, Ms Jessica Poku, has, however, in a thread on Twitter clarified that the viral message circulating is incorrect. She said the Uber application has not been suspended. It is still available throughout Ghana and is operating normally.

    Ms Poku also noted that the nature of Uber services allows drivers to form associations. Therefore, the message could be from a group of drivers who have decided to withhold their services.

    “This could be, for example, a group of 5 drivers who take a decision not to drive, and draft a message to send out. The application has not been suspended and is operating as normal at this time. You may open the app at any time to confirm same”

    Ms Poku

    This was again confirmed to Dubawa by an officer at the Uber Support Centre, Mr Hamand Khan. 

    “In Ghana, the services are not suspended at all. Riders are sending requests for Uber and our partners are accepting the Uber ride,” Khan said.

    Mr Khan added that plans of suspension of services if any would be communicated to riders either through email or through a suspension notice in their Uber app.

    “If there is any plan of suspension of Uber in Accra, clients will receive an email or will see a suspension notification in their uber app directly. So if you receive any forwarded message from any third party, I will recommend you to contact us and verify that the information is from us,” Khan said. 

    Mr Nathan Akoto of Hailing Apps, an app which has drivers from Bolt, Uber and Yango on their platform says their drivers are working.

    “As far as we are concerned we’ve not had any corroboration. We tried the numbers that were put out there but none of them went through. But our drivers are working. You can just try ordering it and you will see for yourself.” Akoto said.

    Dubawa also spoke to Mr Mark Agyei, an Uber driver in Accra who said they are currently working and have received no directives from their association to suspend services in the national capital.

  • Dettol has not been tested on the COVID-19

    Dettol can help in fighting coronavirus – viral social media posts

    Dettol has been tested on, and found to kill coronaviruses such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). However, the manufacturer of Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser Group plc(RB), says it has not yet tested its products on the novel coronavirus and could not confirm whether Dettol is effective against the new coronavirus strain.  

    Full Text

    An image circulating on WhatsApp shows a bottle of Dettol with the caption “Imagine Dettol can help in fighting coronavirus and we’re ignorant of it. It’s written on the container zoom and read.” 

    Source: WhatsApp

    Similar versions of this image have been posted on Facebook; here, and here claiming similar discoveries with hundreds of shares across the platform. 

    According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses including common colds, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and others. On the other hand, this new strain of the virus is one that had not previously been identified in humans.

    In recent developments, The WHO has characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic. This was announced by the Director-General of WHO, Mr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his opening remarks at the Mission briefing on the COVID-19 on March 12th, 2020.

    Verification

    A Facebook post by Reckitt Benckiser Group plc(RB), producers of Dettol on January 31st, 2020 states that the product has not been tested on the novel coronavirus and they, therefore, cannot confirm yet whether or not Dettol may be an effective disinfectant against the virus. 

    “RB has become aware of speculation about Dettol products and the novel 2019-nCoV coronavirus. As this is an emerging outbreak, RB, like all manufacturers, doesn’t yet have access to the new virus (2019-nCoV) for testing and, as a result, are not yet in a position to confirm levels of effectiveness against the new strain,” the post said. 

    Dettol has however been tested on and found to kill some members of the coronavirus family including MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

    “Our products have been tested against other coronaviruses (such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV) and have been found to kill those. Although 2019-nCoV is a new strain, this virus is very similar to other coronaviruses. We continue to work with our partners to ensure that we have the latest understanding of the virus, route of transmission and will test our product range once health authorities make the strain available,” the producers of Dettol said.

    Conclusion

    Currently, no specific cure has been found for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Studies are ongoing and more information surfacing daily about the virus’ pattern of infection in humans.  

  • Video claiming Negative Coronavirus Cases In Ghana Is DATED

    The Two Cases Of Coronavirus In Ghana Proved Negative – Viral Video

    The video is not new. It was part of a news item published by Citi TV on February 6, 2020, when two suspected cases tested negative.

    Full Text

    The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu announced Ghana’s index COVID-19 cases yesterday March 12, 2020, at a press briefing. He stated that the two confirmed cases are imported from Norway and Turkey.

    A day after this, a viral video started circulating on social media. It carries the logo of a television station in Accra, Citi TV. In the video which shows an interview with the media, Dr Daniel Asare, the Chief Executive Officer of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, is heard saying the two suspected cases of coronavirus both tested negative.

    News portals such as occupygh.com and Opera News have proceeded to make news items on 13th March 2020 disproving the two cases which were confirmed by the Mr Agyemang-Manu yesterday based on the viral video.

    Verification

    Citi TV has in a publication, clarified that the video is dated. It was an interview conducted over a month ago.

    “The video in circulation is from an interview conducted on February 6, 2020, when the first two suspected cases were tested and proved negative,” a statement from Citi TV reads.

    DUBAWA’s checks show the video was part of a news item by the media organisation which was published on 6 February 2020, when two previous suspected cases of the coronavirus in Ghana tested negative.

    Citi TV has asked for the video to be disregarded, as it is misinforming the public on the two current confirmed cases in the country.  Citi TV added that they have not had an interview with Dr Daniel Asare since the Minister of Health confirmed the two cases on 12 March 2020.


  • Ghana Confirms Two cases of COVID-19

    Ghanaian authorities confirmed two cases of the COVID-19, Thursday evening at a press briefing. Ghana’s Minister for Health, Mr Kwasi Agyemang-Manu led the charge.

    These two instances are the first cases of the COVID-19 to test positive in Ghana; we recall some 57 suspected cases previously tested, proved negative.

    Noguchi Memorial Institute received laboratory results of the two confirmed cases. It is also important to note that these instances are not homegrown. Both individuals returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey respectively.

    “Both individuals returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey. So these are imported cases of COVID-19”

    Mr Agyemang-Manu

    Meanwhile, the minister assured Ghanaians that the government is working with all health partners to ensure the situation is contained; stating that both victims of the virus were stable and under quarantine. Also, he added that health stakeholders are tracing persons who may have come into contact with the two cases.

    “I wish to assure all Ghanaians that the Government of Ghana together with all Health Partners will continue to work assiduously to ensure the situation is contained. Both patients are currently being kept in isolation and are stable. We have initiated processes for contact tracing”

    a statement from the Ministry of Health said

    On Wednesday evening, President Akufo-Addo addressed concerns regarding the outbreak. He assured Ghanaians that the country was ready in the eventuality of an outbreak. He further indicated the government had directed the release of the cedi equivalent of $100 million to boost the nation’s preparedness and response to the COVID-19.

    “At my prompting, the Minister for Finance has made available the cedi equivalent of $100 million to enhance our coronavirus preparedness and response plan”

    President Akufo-Addo

    Preventive measures

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) says there is currently no vaccine, drug or treatment for the disease.

    “To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019”
    “Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19”

    Hence, no evidence suggests that garlic, baking soda, chloroquine, amongst others can cure the coronavirus. The WHO, however, says some of these remedies may provide comfort and alleviate COVID-19 symptoms. 

    To protect yourself from contracting the disease, practice simple precautionary measures. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, follow good respiratory hygiene and avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth.

  • Herbal Bitters Have Limitations… Not A Coronavirus Cure

    Twitter users said Adutwumwaa Bitters cures coronavirus.

    Adumtwumwaa Bitters does not cure coronavirus. Producers of the medicine, Adumtwumwaa Herbal Industries Limited, have emphatically stated that their product cannot and does not cure the deadly virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no cure, vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat coronavirus at the moment.

    Full Text

    Ghana is one of the lucky African countries which is yet to confirm a case of the coronavirus. Till date, health authorities confirm no live instances of the virus as all 41 suspected cases have tested negative.

    Still, the Ghanaian economy’s connection with China where the outbreak originated and the country’s proximity to other Sub-Saharan African countries with confirmed cases such as Nigeria, have put officials on high alert. The possible outbreak of the coronavirus has therefore generated conversations both on traditional and new media.

    In recent days, discussions about the COVID-19, especially on social media, have included several claims; one being that “Adutwumwaa Bitters”, produced by Adutwumwaa Herbal Industries Limited is the cure for the novel coronavirus.

    This assertion left many with several reactions as this mainstream product has been on the Ghanaian market for more than three decades.

    On that same day, another user @penyah_enoch tweeted the picture, but this time the caption attributed the cure to Ghana.

    https://twitter.com/penyah_enoch/status/1234504860705443840

    Meanwhile, these tweets come nearly five days after the claims started making rounds on Twitter and other social media platforms. On February 28 2020, twitter user with the handle @Ankamagyimi tweeted:

    https://twitter.com/Ankamagyimi/status/1233323984084783104

    Verification

    First, Dubawa arranged a phone interview with parties closest to the assertion. The manufacturers of the medicine, Adutwumwaa Herbal Industries Limited, when contacted debunked the claim. Subsequently, Yaw Afrifa, a member of the company’s Public Relations Unit, forwarded the image below to us.

    In the meantime, the World Health Organization (WHO), the institution leading the world’s response on the COVID-19, says there is no cure yet for the disease. In the Q&A section of its website, the WHO indicates that as of date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat it. 

    CONCLUSION:

    The evidence from the extensive research disproves the claim that Adutwumwaa Bitters cures coronavirus. This, however, does not mean all hope for a cure is Sisyphean. Scientists around the world are working towards developing a vaccine for the prevention and treatment of the disease.

  • There Is No Known Cure or Vaccine for COVID-19; Even Though Research Persists

    Vaccine available for prevention of coronavirus – WhatsApp message.

    The World Health Organisation says there is currently no vaccine for the treatment or prevention of the COVID-2019. However, health authorities are investigating possible vaccines through clinical trials with expected results soon.

    Full Text

    Following the outbreak of what is now officially called the COVID-19, numerous claims regarding drugs or treatment methods, have been in circulation on social media. Examples include the efficacy of garlic and chloroquine as cures for the COVID-19, which have been debunked by fact-checkers.  

    The latest claim, in the form of a screenshot DUBAWA received on WhatsApp, suggests a coronavirus vaccine may be available for the prevention of the disease. 

    The screenshot bears a picture of a vial with the inscription “Coronavirus Vaccine”. The text accompanying it reads: “That’s a great news in the world, To God be the glory. Business will soon start again especially to those travelling to China. Meanwhile, people’s reactions on the breaking news will tell you how important the coronavirus vaccine is to the whole world. Some of their comment are s follows:”

    Verification

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) is yet to confirm the availability of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. According to information on its website, there is currently no vaccine for the prevention of the disease.

    “To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019,” the website reads. 

    However, researchers in Hong Kong, the United States of America, Australia, China and other parts of the world are racing to find a cure, drug or vaccine for the COVID-19. Possible vaccines are under investigation and are being tested on animals to ascertain their efficacy.  

    We carried out several image searches on the screenshot received and came up with zero results. However, we traced the photo of the vial here. It carried the caption “Scientist holding a lab bottle with the text of coronavirus written in blue gloves and needle standing on the black table blurred background.” 

    We also observed the vial has featured in some news stories; which have focused on possible vaccines and the efforts scientists are making to develop a cure for the coronavirus. 

    Preventive Measures

    For now, the necessary preventive measures, as highlighted by the WHO and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), are your best bet against contracting the disease. Here are some of the things you can do to stay safe: 

    • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene; this means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. 
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