A coronavirus WhatsApp scam message is going around – here’s what to do if you receive it

A new WhatsApp scam has been doing the rounds on the platform this week claiming to reveal the cure for coronavirus.

It comes as the infection plagues China and other parts of Asia, while there have now also been confirmed cases worldwide including the UK and mainland Europe.

Not only has the death toll in China rose to more than 100, a number of American and British nationals are currently in quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, after 14 passengers tested positive for the disease.

Amid the outbreak, a scam message has been circulating on WhatsApp, claiming to reveal a cure for covid-19

A Twitter user shared an image of the fake message, which it has been claimed has been sent via WhastApp.

The alarming message urges people to pass it on and claims the virus can be cured using a mix made of garlic and boiling water.

It also goes as far to claim that an “old Chinese doctor” has proven its effectiveness, alongside patients supposedly saying the same thing – despite medical authorities stating there is “no specific treatment” for the virus, known as “Covid-19” as yet. 

WhatsApp’s advice on hoaxes says: “We always advise you to block the sender, disregard the message and delete it.”

It is essential that these scam messages are not forwarded on, as they may expose you and your contacts to potential harm.

As the virus is a relatively new illness, it is not currently known how it is spread from person to person.

The NHS’ official guidelines also state: “There’s currently no vaccine for coronavirus.”

Public Health England also reiterate: “This is a new coronavirus and there is currently no specific treatment. Any patients will be treated for their symptoms by the NHS.”

That said, health authorities do suggest the following precautions be taken to avoid spreading coronavirus:

  • Cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing with a tissue – not your hands
  • Put tissues in the bin straight away
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often
  • Try to avoid contact with those who are unwell

Here is a full list of symptoms.

Those who have visited China or other specified areas in the last 14 days are advised to call 111 – even if you don’t show symptoms of coronavirus.


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