Old image of Brazilian President shared as Italian PM breaks down due COVID-19 pandemic

A photograph of a man with teary eyes has been shared on social media by Marathi, Hindi and English speaking users. As per viral claims. the man is Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, overwhelmed and helpless that the people of his country are dying due to the coronavirus pandemic. The viral image has been shared as a warning to those who are not taking coronavirus seriously.

On March 22, a Twitter user tweeted the viral image along with the claim in Hindi – “जिन लोगों को कोरोना वायरस (कोविड-19) मज़ाक़ लग रहा है, वो इसके तस्वीर को बार बार गौर से देखें और सीख लें.. इटली के प्रधानमंत्री Giuseppe Conte अपने देश में मरती हुई जनता को देखकर रो पड़ें। एक देश का प्रधानमंत्री पॉवर में होने के बावजूद अपनी मरती हुई जनता को देखकर कुछ नहीं कर पा रहा.”

Similarly, a Facebook also posted the image along with a Marathi text – “हे आहेत इटलीचे प्रधानमंत्री GIUSEPPE CONTE आपल्या देशात कोरोना वायरसमुळे रोज 500-800 सर्वसामान्य लोक मरत आहेत हे बघून त्यांना आज आपले अश्रू आवरता आले नाहीत इतकी प्रचंड हतबलता ही एका प्रगतशील देशाच्या प्रधानमंत्रीवर यावी ही फार मोठी शोकांतिका आहे. एका प्रगतीशील देशाच्या प्रधानमंत्रीचे दुःख, हतबलता व रडणे बघून भारतातील प्रत्येकांनी एक धडा शिकला पहिजे ही वेळ आपल्यावर किंबहुना आपल्या देशावर न येण्यासाठी एका जागरूक नागरिकाप्रमाणे घरात बसून सरकारला सहकार्य केले पहिजे, ज्या लोकांना कोरोना वायरस हा चेष्टाचा विषय वाटत असेल त्यांनी हा फोटो वारंवार बघून एक धडा शिकला पहिजे ही वेळ गंमतीची नव्हे तर एका भयंकर आजाराशी लढण्याची आहे.!”

Another Facebook user shared the viral image and wrote in English, “Tears Just came out of My Eyes watching the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shading tears of how they have failed and lost Control over COVID-19 which has claimed thousands of Italians. May the Almighty God strengthen them.”

Fact-check

The viral image doesn’t show Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte but Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Alt News searched the keywords ‘Jair Bolsonaro chorou (Portuguese for cried)’ on Google and found a December 2019 article by Poder 360 which carried the viral image.

According to the report, the photo is from an evangelical Thanksgiving service at the Planalto Palace. Bolsonaro cried after he remembered the knife attack he had suffered in Juiz de Fora (MG), during the 2018 election campaign.

As per an article in The Guardian from September 7, 2018, “Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right frontrunner in next month’s Brazilian presidential election, is in a serious condition in hospital after being stabbed while campaigning. Bolsonaro was taken to hospital in the town of Juiz de Fora, about 125 miles (200km) north of Rio de Janeiro, after he was stabbed by a man who rushed up to him while he was being carried through a crowd on the shoulders of a supporter.”

Therefore, Bolsonaro’s photograph was falsely shared as Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte overwhelmed due to a large number of deaths in his country caused by COVID-19. Below is a photograph of Conte.

Italy is one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus. The interactive dashboard by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering shows that over 5,400 people have died in Italy, more than in any country thus far. As of March 23, more than 59,000 people have been infected by the virus and over 7,000 patients have recovered

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