COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: Helicopters to spray anti-COVID substances over Luzon

FALSE: Helicopters to spray anti-COVID substances over Luzon
This is a rehashed claim that was already debunked in March. The Philippine National Police maintains that they have no plans to do this.
Claim:

Helicopters will fly over the entirety of Luzon to spray unspecified substances against the coronavirus.

Facebook page “Mayor Mel Aguilar Las Piñas Unofficial” posted on July 10, warning constituents to close their windows and doors and to avoid going outside.

The post said, “Guys isara ang lahat ng bintana at pintuan lahat ng damit na nakasampay sa labas ipasok, mag iikot mamayang 12 ng hating gabi ang helicopter sa buong luzon mag spray sila ng contra covid idadaan sa hangin. Wla na pong lalabas para safe ang lahat. Pakisabihan ang kapamilya at kakilala para sila ay handa. Mag ingat po tayong lahat. PAKI FORWARD PLEASE.”

(Guys, close all windows and doors and take all hanging clothes inside, later at 12 midnight, helicopters will circle the entire Luzon and spray anti-COVID substances in the wind. No one should go out so that everyone will be safe. Please tell your families and acquaintances so that they are ready. Let us all keep safe. Please forward.)

This post was flagged by Claim Check, Facebook’s tool for detecting posts with potentially false information. The post had acquired 487 reactions, 210 comments, and 1,300 shares as of writing.

While some people in the comments dismissed the post as fake, others seemed to believe it. One commented, “Salamat po [mayora] sa info (Thank you for the information, mayor). God bless po stay safe.” Others shared the post telling their friends to keep safe and to avoid going outside. The post is still being shared even though the supposed spraying would have happened already.

RATING: FALSE
The facts:

This is a rehashed claim that was already debunked in March. The Philippine National Police (PNP) maintains that they have no plans to do this.

On July 16, PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard Banac told Rappler there are “no such plans” to deploy helicopters and spray anti-coronavirus substances over Luzon.

Last March, the Department of Health (DOH) debunked a similar claim that special military helicopters will spray pesticides against the coronavirus nationwide after 12 midnight.

“Pesticides work against pests, not viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a virus. The best way to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 is still to wash hands often; cover coughs and sneezing with flexed elbow. Practice social distancing (at least 1 meter apart). No special military helicopters or airplanes will be deployed,” read the DOH’s post.

Further, no news reports say that such an event would take place.

In the past, Rappler debunked other fake announcements related to the fight against COVID-19, including fake World Health Organization protocols on lockdown periods, and false posts that said President Rodrigo Duterte was set to declare a “total lockdown.”Loreben Tuquero/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.