“The Lagos State Ministry of Health has confirmed nine cases of Coronavirus with four deaths recorded since the outbreak of the deadly disease in the state,” it reads.
“Dr Austin Ojotule, the State Epidemiologist, disclosed this in statement in Lagos on Sunday.”
It adds: “The official said that the nine confirmed cases were from five local government areas of Ibaji with two, Okene, two, Idah, three, Okehi, one, and Igalamela Local Government Area, one.”
The article has been shared on Facebook.
But has the deadly virus hit Nigeria?
No coronavirus cases in Africa
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases. An outbreak of a new strain, named “2019-nCoV” and known as “novel coronavirus”, was identified in Wuhan, China in late December 2019. (Note: The strain has now been named Covid-19.)
According to the World Health Organization’s most recent update on the outbreak, for 10 February 2020, the virus has claimed 909 lives in China, and one in the Philippines. There are 40,554 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, most of them in China.
There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases or deaths anywhere in Africa – including Nigeria.
Copy of report on Lassa fever outbreak
The FoxNewsNigeria.com article is an almost word for word copy of a widely published news report on a Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria’s Kogi state. “Lassa fever” has been changed to “coronavirus”, and “Kogi” changed to “Lagos”.
Ibaji, Okene, Idah, Okehi and Igalamela are all local government areas of Kogi state, not Lagos.
On 11 February, Prof Akin Abayomi, Lagos state’s commissioner for health, dismissed the claim on Twitter.
“This is absolute falsehood,” he wrote. “Nigerians and the international community should disregard this report intentionally published to cause panic and anxiety among our people. We reiterate our disrelish for fake news and it remains a criminal offence!”
The FoxNewsNigeria.com article is false. – Mary Alexander
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check has partnered with Facebook to combat fake news and false information on the social platform. This fact-check is part of the initiative.
As part of its third-party fact-checking programme, Facebook allows its partners to see public articles, pictures or videos that have been flagged as potentially inaccurate.
Content rated as “false” by fact-checkers will be downgraded in news feeds. This means fewer people will see it.
You can help us identify fake news and false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.
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