COVID-19: Photo from Malaysia shared as Indonesian doctor who died treating patients

The COVID-19 infection has spread across the globe. Many countries have taken steps for a total lockdown in order to tackle the pandemic. Even in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared nationwide lockdown till April 14, exempting essential services from the restriction. A sharp increase in social media activity shows there is growing chaos due to the fear of the disease. Talking about one such example, recently Alt News reported how a picture of a mother hugging a child battling cancer from 1985 was circulated on social media as coronavirus victim.

Latching on to similar sentiments, a picture of a man in a mask watching two toddlers from the entrance of a house has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter. According to social media claims, the man is Hadiyo Ali, an Indonesia-based doctor and this is his last photo. According to the claim, the viral image shows Dr Ali saying farewell to his pregnant wife and his children for the last time.

It is noteworthy that a doctor named Hadiyo Ali indeed passed away on March 22 after contracting infection while taking care of patients. This was reported by Jatkara Globe.

Facebook page of Aamir Rashadi Madani, the Founder and President of the National Ulama Council, shared the viral image and made the same claim (archived post).

Syrian politician Omar Madaniah also tweeted the viral photo. ( Archived tweet )

Alt News received several requests to fact-check the images on WhatsApp (+91 76000 11160) and on our official Android application.

Fact-check

After a reverse image search on Google, Alt News found that viral image was posted by Malaysia-based Facebook user Ahmed Effendi Zailanudin on March 21. A Google translation of the caption of the picture revealed that Zailanudin is the brother of the masked man from the viral image. The caption also said that the man is a doctor and he takes care of the patients suffering from coronavirus. Thus, he keeps a safe distance from his family.

Cekfakta, fact-check wing of the Indonesian news website Tempo, also examined this picture. Their report includes Zailanuddin’s statement, according to which, the man in the viral image is not Dr Ali but Zailanudin’s brother. He added that his brother is alive. Other Malaysian websites that have published a report on this picture are – Kerjaayabaru.com and Pama Magazine.

Thus the claim associated with the viral image is false and misleading.

Note: The number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in India has exceeded 700. This has caused the government to impose a complete restriction on movement apart from essential services. Globally, more than 4 lakh confirmed cases and close to 22,000 deaths have been reported. There is a growing sense of panic among citizens, causing them to fall for a variety of online misinformation – misleading images and videos rousing fear or medical misinformation promoting pseudoscience and invalid treatments. While your intentions may be pure, misinformation, spread especially during a global pandemic, can take lives. We request our readers to practice caution and not forward unverified messages on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.

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