Fact Check:Viral WhatsApp message exaggerates COVID-19 situation in various countries

A WhatsApp message listing out the COVID-19 situation in various countries along with travel restrictions and lockdowns is going viral.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  6 Dec 2021 8:30 AM GMT
Fact Check:Viral WhatsApp message exaggerates COVID-19 situation in various countries

Hyderabad: A WhatsApp message listing out the COVID-19 situation in various countries along with travel restrictions and lockdowns is going viral. The message lists out the protocols in Canada, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Brazil, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.

Fact Check

NewsMeter verified the claims made in the WhatsApp message and checked the announcements made by the countries from official reports.

Claim 1: "Canada bans flights in and out, and the daily death toll exceeds 1,000"

Fact Check: According to a press release issued by the country's Public Health Agency on 30 November, the government announced additional border measures related to international travel to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada. At the moment, Canada has prohibited entry for foreign nationals who have been in any of these countries – Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Nigeria, and Malawi.

According to the data available on Our World in Data, Canada reported its highest COVID-19 deaths in a single day – 244 deaths – on 29 April 2020. Clearly, the daily death toll has never exceeded 1,000.

Claim 2: "Saudi Arabia is blocked and there are no flights in and out"

Fact Check: Saudi Arabia has halted flights from and to Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius, and the Comoros Islands owing to concerns related to the spread of the new COVID-19 strain. It has also suspended flights to and from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini. The country will allow travellers "from all countries" as long as they receive one dose of the vaccine in the country. Travelers who will soon be allowed in would need to be quarantined for three days. It did not mention flight suspensions, Reuters reported.

Claim 3: "Tanzania is completely blocked"

Fact Check: We found no reports or official announcements regarding recent travel restrictions, lockdowns, or COVID-related restrictions in Tanzania. As of now, all international passengers are required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival using a sample collected within 96 hours of departure for Tanzania, according to a travel advisory. Only RT-PCR or NAAT tests are considered.

Claim 4: "Brazil fell into the deadliest chapter, with more than 4,100 deaths today"

Fact Check: The WhatsApp message doesn't mention the date Brazil reported 4,100 deaths. As per Our World in Data, Brazil has reported more than 1,000 daily deaths since 20 August 2021. The country saw its highest deaths per day (4,249) on 8 April 2021 but it reduced to less than 1,000 deaths per day in November. (BBC News)

Claim 5: "Spain has announced that the state of emergency can be extended"

Fact Check: Currently, the country has not declared a state of emergency. The state of emergency that began in October 2020 ended in May 2021 (Live Mint). As of now, Spain allows fully vaccinated people to travel in and out of the country with COVID-negative RT-PCR tests.

Claim 6: "United Kingdom announced a one-month lockdown"

Fact Check: There is no ongoing lockdown in England. Reuters quoted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as saying, "I think another lockdown of the kind that we've had before is extremely unlikely."

Claim 7: "France Locked for two weeks"

Fact Check: There is no ongoing lockdown in France. The government has not yet announced lockdowns or travel restrictions. France has restricted inbound passengers from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini. As of now fully vaccinated travellers from other countries can enter France without a PCR report. The conditions and requirements for entering France depends on the country of departure and vaccination/recovery status. (Source: CNN)


Claim 8: "Germany sealed for four weeks"

Fact Check: Germany has not announced a lockdown but is implementing major restrictions on those who are unvaccinated, allowing them to meet only two people outside of their household. The country is focused on adopting compulsory vaccination for all. (Source: BBC News)

As of now, Germany has implemented a travel ban for passengers arriving from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Entry from any other country for any purpose (including visits and tourism) is only possible for fully vaccinated people, said the country's Federal Foreign Office.

Claim 9: "Italy followed closely today"

Fact Check: Italy signed a new ordinance banning entry from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini. The entry ban does not apply to people registered as residents of Italy before 26 November 2021. The ordinance extended the measures for entry into Italy from third countries to 15 December 2021 and entries from Brazil, India, and Sri Lanka are on the same level as entries from other non-European countries. Entry is largely limited to residents of the European Union and a few non-EU countries. The entry regulations differ depending on a traveler's vaccination/recovery status.

Click here to see the full COVID-19 guidelines.

Currently, the country is in a state of emergency until 31 December. (CNN)

From this, it is clear that countries are taking necessary action to curb COVID-19 and a few have imposed flight restrictions and travel bans. However, the viral WhatsApp message makes unfounded claims about lockdowns and a sudden surge in deaths. The message is exaggerated.

Claim Review:WhatsApp message lists out the COVID-19 situation in various countries along with travel restrictions and lockdowns.
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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