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No, member of Chinese medical team in Nigeria hasn’t tested positive for Covid-19

Posts circulating on social media in Nigeria claim a member of a medical team sent to the country by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to help manage the Covid-19 outbreak has tested positive for the disease.

A team of 15 experts arrived in the Nigerian capital Abuja on 8 April 2020 with medical equipment and supplies valued at US$1.5 million, donated by the Chinese government. Their presence has been controversial.

Tweets on 14 April shared screenshots of other tweets from an account called “Citizens of Nigeria(Official)”, claiming one of the Chinese doctors had tested positive for coronavirus. Similar messages were shared on Facebook.

The original Twitter account and tweet have been deleted. 

On 15 April Africa Check debunked an article shared on Facebook that claimed all 15 Chinese doctors had tested positive for Covid-19. But are these rumours that only one doctor is sick true?

NCDC says claim ‘false’

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control told Africa Check that the claim was false.

On 16 April, the agency also dismissed the rumour in a tweet. “The rumour circulating that a doctor who was brought in to support Nigeria's public health response has tested positive for #Covid19 is FALSE. Please note that Covid-19 is not peculiar to any ethnic group or nationality, we should all #TakeResponsibility,the NCDC said.

Lai Mohammed, the country’s minister of information and culture, also said it was false. 

In a statement broadcast on Channels TV, he said: “There was a message that went viral, to the effect that one of the Chinese doctors tested positive and that news was supposed to have emanated from the Twitter handle of the federal government. I want to say, to the best of our knowledge here, there’s no such thing.” 

Mohammed urged Nigerians to follow the guidelines in his ministry’s daily briefings or from the NCDC. – Motunrayo Joel


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