Things that are actually true (but you thought they weren’t)

Yes, free Covid-19 testing at South African pharmacy chain Dis-Chem, if referred through Momentum app Hello Doctor

“Momentum and Dis-Chem has announced that they will be offering private lab COVID testing to non-medical aid and unemployed patients,” says a WhatsApp message Africa Check received on 8 June 2020.
The message says South African pharmacy and clinic chain Dis-Chem will do free Covid-19 tests for patients without medical aid who are referred through Hello Doctor. This is true.

Yes, Lagos state spent N800 million on Covid-19 tests

The Lagos state government has spent N800 million, over US$2 million, on 16,000 Covid-19 tests. That’s the claim a Facebook user made, flagged as possibly false by the platform’s fact-checking system.

But it’s true. 

Yes, monkeys in India stole Covid-19 blood samples from lab assistant

“Coronavirus: Monkeys ‘escape with Covid-19 samples’ after attacking lab assistant,” reads what seems to be a screenshot of a tweet by British broadcaster Sky News, posted on Facebook.

A comment on the tweet adds: “2020 can’t be real.” But it’s true.

Yes, France’s face veil ban remains, despite face mask order to control Covid-19

“France made face masks mandatory in public – but its ban on face veils, burqas and niqabs is still in force,” reads an Instagram post doing the rounds on the social network in South Africa.

“Officials told @washingtonpost women who wear them as face coverings can be punished with fines.”

Three Instagram users have reported the post as potentially false. We investigated.

Yes, Ghana’s president said worker infected 533 others with Covid-19 at factory

“A worker infected 533 others with coronavirus at a factory in Ghana, president says,” claims a 25 May 2020 article on the site Report RSA.

“All 533 of them contracted the virus from one worker at the factory in the port city of Tema, the president said in his public address to the nation Sunday.”

The article has been flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system. But it’s correct.

‘Do not rent to African’ sign from Malaysia, not China

“As I stop supporting China Malls,” reads text on a screenshot of a Facebook post, reposted on 15 May 2020.

It shows a photo of a sign on a wall, in different languages. The English text reads: “DO NOT RENT TO AFRICAN/NEGRO” and “0% AFRICAN/NEGRO TENANT”. A red circle around the words “AFRICAN NEGRO” has a diagonal line through it in the common symbol for “not allowed”. The sign is not from China but from Malaysia, and it is sadly true.

Yes, South Sudan first vice president Machar tested positive for Covid-19

Riek Machar Teny, first vice president of South Sudan, has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus disease, claims an article on the blog Nile Spear TV.

It says Angelina Teny, the country’s defence minister and Machar’s wife, has also tested positive, along with “a number of his office staff and bodyguards”.

The article was posted on Facebook on 19 May 2020, and flagged as possibly false by the social network’s fact-checking system. But it’s correct.

Yes, governor of Nigeria’s Rivers state ordered demolition of hotels for violating Covid-19 lockdown

Governor Nyesom Wike of Nigeria’s River state has ordered two hotels to be demolished for continuing to operate during the coronavirus lockdown.

That’s according to several Facebook posts users flagged as possibly false.

But these extreme measures are real.

Yes, South Africa’s president warned ‘worst’ of coronavirus ‘still coming’

RAMAPHOSA: THE WORST IS STILL COMING!” reads the headline of a 5 May 2020 article in the Daily Sun.

The article was posted on Facebook, where it was flagged as possibly false. But it is accurate.

Yes, sale of cigarettes, alcohol still banned under South Africa’s level four coronavirus lockdown

“Lockdown: Cigarettes, liquor still won’t be for sale on Level 4,” reads the headline of a 29 April 2020 article on South African news site Fin24.

The article was posted on Facebook, where it’s been viewed more than 300,000 times –and flagged as possibly false by the social network’s fact-checking system. But to the dismay of some smokers and drinkers, it’s correct.

Melinda Gates said she feared coronavirus in Africa would lead to dead being put out in street, as in Ecuador

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and wife of US billionaire Bill Gates, has said the coronavirus pandemic “will make Africa have dead bodies lying on the streets”.

That’s the claim in a 12 April 2020 post on Facebook in Kenya. Read what exactly she said.

No, World Bank hasn’t praised Tanzania’s Covid-19 response or warned other African countries against ‘western’ policies

“World Bank Applauds Tanzania on Anti Corona Policy Response, warns African Countries Copying Western Anti-Covid 19 Policies,” reads the headline of an article shared on Facebook.

But this is not accurate.

South African police record 2,300 gender-based violence complaints in first week of lockdown – not 87,000

High rates of gender-based violence are a huge concern for South Africa. When president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day national lockdown to help slow the spread of Covid-19, many were worried that victims of this violence would be stuck indoors with their abusers.

The concerns seemed warranted when police minister Bheki Cele said that 87,000 cases of gender-based violence had been reported by phone in the first week of lockdown. But this number was inaccurate.

Company paying UK volunteers to be infected with coronaviruses – but not new Covid-19 virus

“Scientists in London will pay volunteers 400k to be infected with Coronavirus in experiments to develop a vaccine for the deadly virus,” claims a post on a Kenyan Facebook page.

Yes, UK firm hVIVO is looking to study coronaviruses – but not the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19, but other, more common coronaviruses. Read the full story here.


Yes, two French doctors said Covid-19 vaccine trial should be done in Africa

Did two French doctors say a coronavirus vaccine should be tested in Africa? That’s the claim in status updates and articles posted on Facebook in several African countries.

Yes, they did make the controversial remarks, triggering outrage. One has since apologised. Read how it all unfolded.


Why Kenya is banking on cashless transactions to help stop coronavirus

Can the new coronavirus be spread on banknotes? The question came on Africa Check’s Kenya WhatsApp fact-checking line.

“So, there’s a new claim that currency notes actually are possible conduits of the virus. How true is this?” It is possible.

Yes, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic 

Has the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak a pandemic – an infectious disease that is spreading around the world? This was reported by KTN News, a national Kenyan TV on 11 March 2020. But the post was flagged as possibly false by Facebook’s fact-checking system.

In a media briefing on 11 March, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency had “made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterised as a pandemic”. Get the details here.

Novel coronavirus declared a global health emergency? Yes

Several news media in Africa on 21 January 2020 reported that the World Health Organization had declared the outbreak of novel coronavirus a global health emergency. But some readers weren’t too convinced, and flagged these reports to us.

It turns out the United Nations did confirm this in a tweet: “NEWS: #Coronavirus declared a public health emergency of international concern by WHO.” Get our full fact-check here.

The WHO has since declared Covid -19 a pandemic – which is the worldwide spread of a disease. Read all about pandemics here.

Yes, student was admitted to hospital in Kenya with ‘coronavirus -like symptoms’

Was a student arriving in Kenya from China admitted to hospital after “exhibiting coronavirus-like symptoms”? National TV stations reported this in January 2020, but some readers still had their doubts. But it did happen.

On 28 January Kenya’s ministry of health issued a statement on its Facebook and Twitter pages confirming that a patient showing coronavirus symptoms had been admitted to the hospital and they were conducting tests.

But Kenya’s first Covid-19 case was only confirmed on 13 March.

Yes, dog tested positive for new coronavirus – but no evidence pets can spread Covid-19

Did a pet dog in Hong Kong test positive for Covid-19?  Yes, a dog in Hong Kong did test positive for the new coronavirus, but there’s no evidence that pets can spread it to people. That’s according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the World Health Organization.

Officials said it was likely a case of human-to-animal transmission. “Members of the public are advised to differentiate that ‘being infected’ does not equal being infectious and capable of spreading the Covid-19 virus,” the Hong Kong SPCA was quoted as saying. Get the details of this case here.


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