CLAIM: Fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development spotted a viral message supposedly from UNICEF – the United Nations Children’s Fund – with several claims about the New Coronavirus COVID-19.
The false information including a circular printed by a University and pasted on the student hostel, alleged to be from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on 10th March 202. Among them is the claim that the virus does not live in hot regions and exposure to a temperature of 25 – 27C will kill the virus. The circular also claims ‘’ drinking hot water and exposure to the sun will do the trick‘’.
FACT: UNICEF is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide. It has an office in Nigeria and around the world.
A review of the banners and circular bearing the claim shows they do not bear the known logo of UNICEF raising our first suspicion of information it contains because our review of the guideline for prevention of the virus released by the World Health Organisation and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control were inconsistent with the claims.
Fact Checkers then reviewed all UNICEF online Channels and could not find the same or similar guideline released by the organisation.
To further verify the claims, CDD fact-checkers reached out to UNICEF. We contacted Mr Geoffrey, a spokesperson for Unicef in Nigeria who said the information and the banners did not originate from UNICEF. He urged members of the public to check the website of the organization for authentic information from UNICEF.
A rebuttal by UNICEF says the information is wholly untrue. In a statement released early March, it wrote on it official website ‘’For example, a recent erroneous online message circulating in several languages around the world and purporting to be a UNICEF communication appears to indicate, among other things, that avoiding ice cream and other cold foods can help prevent the onset of the disease. This is, of course, wholly untrue.
“To the creators of such falsehoods, we offer a simple message: STOP. Sharing inaccurate information and attempting to imbue it with authority by misappropriating the names of those in a position of trust is dangerous and wrong.’’
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) did not release the circular with the claim that Coronavirus live in hot regions and drinking hot water and exposure to the sun can take care of the virus. The claim also that exposure to heat can prevent Coronavirus cannot be scientifically proven, therefore, members of the public are advised to follow preventive guideline seen on the official channels of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)