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Claim: The coronavirus did not reach the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai, as well as Russia and North Korea.
The claim was part of a longer text that circulated and reposted several times on Facebook.
The first part of the text read: “The coronavirus traveled [the] entire world from Wuhan but it did not reach Beijing and Shanghai. Can anybody put light?”
In addition, the text also said: “How come Russia and North Korea are totally free of COVID-19? Because they are [a] staunch ally of China. Not a single case reported from [these two] countries.”
Facebook Claim Check, a tool that detects posts with potentially false information, flagged multiple posts containing this claim.
Rating: PARTLY FALSE
The facts: The virus spread to Beijing and Shanghai in January, Russia had its first cases in February, while North Korea’s claim of being coronavirus-free is largely contested.
As the coronavirus spread from December 2019, originating from Wuhan, it reached the areas of Guangdong, Beijing, and Shanghai within the next month.
According to the World Health Organization’s coronavirus situation report published on January 21, 5 cases of the virus were recorded in Beijing and 1 case was recorded in Shanghai as January 20.
Soon after, Beijing reported its first death due to coronavirus on January 27.
As for Russia, The Moscow Times said the country had two confirmed coronavirus cases as early as February 12.
Meanwhile, North Korea claimed to have no coronavirus cases as of yet. However, analysts and experts remain skeptical.
According to an Al Jazeera report, journalists and researchers have heard about an outbreak from contacts in North Korea. A Daily NK report claimed that North Korea’s central emergency disease control command statistics show 23 people died of acute pneumonia between January and February, while 82 people with similar symptoms were quarantined.
Further, Harvard Medical School Dr. Kee B. Park told the New York Times that the country’s lack of testing equipment prevented it from detecting a single case.
As of Wednesday, April 1, China had recorded 82,638 cases according to the World Health Organization, with 580 cases in Beijing and 509 cases in Shanghai. Meanwhile, Russia had 2,777 cases as of Wednesday according to The Moscow Times.
Globally, the tally of novel coronavirus cases as of Wednesday rose to 827,419, with 40,777 deaths and affecting 205 countries. – Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com
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