Claim: Imported nose masks are contaminated with COVID-19
Source: WhatsApp Forward
Researched by Gifty Tracy Aminu
A voice note circulating on WhatsApp falsely claims face masks imported into Ghana have been contaminated with COVID-19 and should be avoided.
The viral WhatsApp audio comes with a video clip purportedly showing a nose mask which according to the speaker has been contaminated with COVID-19.
The speaker further urges the public to only use locally-manufactured nose masks made from fabrics which are “safe.”
In the 2 minutes and 7 seconds long voice note, a lady introduced as Linda is heard speaking in an indigenous Ghanaian language- Twi and partly said:
“…there is a new variant of COVID-19 named as “COVID-21”. These nose masks manufactured by the whites for Africans have been contaminated with COVID-19. …..It is with the intention to destroy Black Americans and the Africa Continent. I am pleading with everyone to take a good look at the video to the end and you will see that the coronavirus is inside the mask.”
No new variant called COVID-21
Three new similar but distinct Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants have been reported in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil respectively.
The new strains have been named 501Y/VUI – 202012/01, 501Y.V2, 501Y.V3 respectively.
Preliminary findings show that Ghana has recorded only the 501Y.V2 variant, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) described the information as completely false when GhanaFact forwarded the audio clip and video for verification.
“Disregard the message, it’s completely false and intended to cause panic,” Head of Drugs Market Surveillance Department at the FDA, Vigil Prah Eshun said.
The Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Health and the FDA have approved for use in Ghana several imported and locally manufactured nose/face masks as part of measures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the FDA, it will however continue to conduct periodic market surveillance to assess compliance to safety and standards set for imported and locally-manufactured nose masks.
The claim that imported nose masks are contaminated with a new strain of Covid-19 is false.