The World Health Organization says there isn’t a vaccine, drug or treatment for Covid-19 at the moment. But that hasn’t stopped the claim from being shared on social media.
A Facebook health page says coronavirus can be “cured by one bowl of freshly boiled garlic water”.
And several posts about how garlic can cure Covid-19 have been circulating on WhatsApp in Nigeria. They include a WhatsApp voice note in Hausa.
Translated into English, it says: “Here is what you should do to protect yourself from the disease. The disease will not affect you. Your body will fight the disease. You should use garlic in your drinking water and in your food, add it while cooking, chew it all the time and use it all the time.”
This advice is false.
Nigeria’s first confirmed coronavirus case
Nigeria’s ministry of health confirmed the country’s first case of Covid-19 on 27 February 2020. The patient is said to be a man who travelled from Milan in Italy to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, on 25 February 2020.
The man’s Covid-19 infection was confirmed by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital’s virology laboratory, which is part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
His condition is reported as stable. He has no serious symptoms and is being treated at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
Get Covid-19 information from World Health Organization
Social media advice on Covid-19 should be confirmed by health experts.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control told Africa Check that Nigerians should only rely on information provided by the World Health Organization.
This information includes:
- How to protect yourself
- Answers to questions about coronaviruses and Covid-19
- International travel advice
- Daily updates on the Covid-19 outbreak
‘Fear, rumours, stigma’ the greatest enemy
On 28 February, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged people across the world to ignore false information on Covid-19.
“It’s normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially if you live in a country or community that has been affected. Find out what you can do in your community. Discuss how to stay safe with your workplace, school or place of worship,” he said.
“Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity.” – Jennifer Ojugbeli
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.