Fact Check: Did WHO doctors say that social distancing and isolation is not required for COVID-19? Here’s the truth

A video of doctors from across the world discussing COVID-19 has gone viral all over social media claiming that WHO has taken a U-Turn and they are saying that corona patients need not be isolated nor quarantined. Also, the post also claims that social distancing is not required as the virus does not transfer from person to person.

The Facebook post read, “Breaking news: WHO has completely taken a U-turn and now says that Corona patient neither needs to be isolated, nor quarantined, nor needs social Distancing, and it cannot even transmit from one patient to another.”

Other similar posts can be seen here, here and here.

FACT CHECK

NewsMobile fact-checked the above post and found it to be misleading.

Firstly, we searched for some information about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the website of WHO but couldn’t find any similar video featuring these doctors and this context. Moreover, we also searched for Public Advice but couldn’t find any information to support the claim on the WHO website.

On digging further, we found the same social media video on ACU (Außerparlamentarischer Corona Untersuchungsausschuss) 2020 which is an Extra-parliamentary corona investigation committee. The video is of a panel of the World Doctors Alliance gathered in Berlin.

We then verified each claim about COVID-19 made by the panel of doctors and activists gathered in Germany to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

Claim 1: COVID-19 is a normal Flu virus

According to the Centre for disease control and prevention, there is a difference between Flu and COVID-19. It says, “Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

Moreover, we also found an article by WHO Director-General dated March 3, 2020, claiming that ‘the Coronavirus is not SARS(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), it’s not MERS(Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and it’s not influenza. It is a unique virus with unique characteristics.’

Claim 2: No need of wearing the mask

According to the WHO website, we found, that it is mandatory to wear a mask in COVID-19 pandemic to keep one safe from COVID-19.

We also found several Q&A related to the usage of masks in Coronavirus pandemic on WHO which was updated on October 9, 2020.

Claim 3: RT-PCR is giving an incorrect result

We found an Indian Council Medical Research advisory in a news article in Economic Times dated June 15, 2020. The article stated that those who test negative for COVID-19 by rapid antigen test should be definitely tested sequentially by RT-PCR to rule out infection, whereas a positive test should be considered as a true positive and does not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test, said ICMR in an advisory.

Claim 4: Lockdown makes no difference: No need to maintain social distancing

To verify the above claim, we once again checked the website of WHO. The site urges people to ‘maintain at least a 1-metre distance between yourself and others to reduce your risk of infection when they cough, sneeze or speak. Maintain an even greater distance between yourself and others when indoors. The further away, the better.”

Hence, with the help of the above information, it is clear that the claims in the video of world doctors attributed to WHO are false. Don’t fall for false and misleading claims.

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