Japan Fact-Checks, July 17: WHO Information and Modi-Xi Video
False: WHO changes course; No need to quarantine infected people (fact-checked by InFact on July 15, 2020)
A Twitter post purportedly showing that the WHO said that coronavirus patients require neither quarantine nor social distancing because “It cannot even transmit from one patient to another” was posted on July 4, and went viral, being retweeted over 2,800 times. This tweet introduced a tweet by American radio personality John B. Wells in Japanese with a video of the WHO’s June 8 regular press conference.
In this video, Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s director for COVID-19, tells the conference that “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.” There was no mention of not needing to “quarantine infected people,” “self-isolate,” or “maintain social distancing.”
After Dr. Van Kerkhove’s remarks, some experts succeeded in pointing out that cases of infection from asymptomatic people are not necessarily rare. Dr. Van Kerkhove went on to amend her statement the next day. The WHO still advises people to “maintain at least 1 meter distance between yourself and others” and to “Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, or mild fever until you recover” on its official website, and it is clear that the organization has not changed its views.
Therefore, the tweet claiming that the WHO has changed its views to that the “quarantine of infected people was unnecessary” is judged to be false.
The original fact-checking report in Japanese is on the InFact website.
Fact-Checks at a Glance
We picked up the following fact-check relating to Japan from overseas media.
False: Satire cartoon clip on Narendra Modi vs Xi Jinping shown on Japanese TV (India; fact-checked by Boom on July 8, 2020)
Explanation: A cartoon clip showing Chinese President Xi Jinping facing off against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along the lines of a popular kung fu film, is being shared on social media, together with claims that it was shown on Japanese television. The clip is actually from an Indian satirical news segment, “So Sorry,” that runs on the Hindi news channel Aaj Tak (India Today). It was not shown on Japanese television. After the clip went viral with the misleading caption “This was shown on Japanese TV,” it was also shared in Japanese via Twitter and YouTube. Read the full article here (English).
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(Originally published in English by FactCheck Initiative Japan; edited by Nippon.com.)