KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — Unicef Malaysia has denied authorship of a viral WhatsApp message that highlighted “tips” to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, including not eating ice cream.
“Fake news alert. Unicef is not issuing any advice/tips about coronavirus prevention through WhatsApp in Malaysia,” the United Nations agency’s Malaysia chapter said in a brief tweet today.
“Be wary of such messages claiming to be from us,” Unicef Malaysia wrote on Facebook.
The agency also advised Malaysians to visit its website for credible information about preventing the spread of Covid-19.
The viral WhatsApp text highlighted several contentious “instructions” and practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the adherence to which was described as “sufficient” and supposedly validated by Unicef.
The message, which was also made viral in a Malay translation, claimed that the coronavirus lives for nine hours when it falls on fabrics, “so washing clothes or exposing them to the sun for two hours is enough for the purpose of killing him (sic)”.
Not only that, but since the virus purportedly lives on a person’s hands for 10 minutes, “putting the alcohol sanitiser in the pocket”, somehow, “is enough for the purpose of prevention.”
The text message also claimed that if the virus is exposed to a temperature of 26-27°C, it will be killed as it does not live in hot areas. As such, drinking hot water and being exposed to the sun is “good enough”.
“Gargling with warm water and salt kills tonsils and prevents them from leaking into the lungs.
“Stay away from ice cream and cold food is important,” the text added.
Besides that, since the coronavirus is “large in size”, any mask prevents its entry. Therefore, there is no need to “exploit pharmacists to trade with muzzles”.
“The virus does not settle in the air, but on the ground, so it is not transmitted by the air,” the text went on.