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Photo of migrants drowned in 2013, not Italy’s coronavirus victims

A photo of dozens of wooden coffins, a rose on top of each, has been posted on a popular Kenyan Facebook group.

Text above the photo urges people to socially distance themselves from others because of the new coronavirus. It reads: “In case you’re still not convinced to say home for you & ur beloved ones ... Here’s a picture from Italy!”

The post itself asks Kenyans to “say a word of prayer for our fellow Italians” as “conditions about corona r getting worse”. 

Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, the European country has over 74,000 cases of Covid-19, with more than 7,500 deaths.

Does the photo show the coffins of Italy’s coronavirus victims? We checked.

African migrants drowned seeking asylum

A reverse image search revealed that the photo was taken on 5 October 2013 on Lampedusa, an Italian island near the coast of Tunisia in the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s in the Getty Images collection. The caption reads: “Coffins of some of the African migrants killed in a shipwreck off the Italian coast sit in a hangar at the Lampedusa airport on October 5, 2013 in Lampedusa, Italy.”

The photo was taken in Italy, but in 2013, and shows another tragedy. The dead are not Covid-19 victims, but African migrants who drowned seeking asylum in Italy. – Grace Gichuhi


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