The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Novel Coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Scientists have mapped the genomic sequence of the virus but are still researching the source of the virus.
In light of the health emergency, several false narratives are going viral on social media, which are creating panic among the citizens of different countries.
A report by news agency Asian News International on Thursday, 30 January said that Manir Hossain, a 23-year-old man from India’s Tripura, had died in a hospital in Malaysia due to coronavirus.
According to the report, which quoted Abdul Rahim, Hossain’s grandfather, the family had received a call from Malaysian authorities on Wednesday, who told them that Hossain had passed away due to coronavirus.
ANI quoted Rahim as saying “My 23-year-old grandson had gone to Malaysia around two years ago. We got a phone call from the Malaysian authorities on Wednesday morning, informing us of Hossain’s death due to coronavirus.”
Now this news report was carried by major Indian media houses such as Hindustan Times, NDTV, Economic Times and Times of India claiming that a man from India’s Tripura had died in a hospital in Malaysia due to coronavirus.
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Soon after this, the Malaysian Government refuted the claims on Indian Media to be False. The Official Twitter handle of Ministry of Health Malaysia tweeted on 30 January 2020 dismissing the claims by the Indian Media.
English Translation- “According to information received until 6pm, January 30, 2020, no record of 23-year-old Indian citizen was recorded by a laboratory conducting the 2019-nCoV validation test in Malaysia.”
Fact Crescendo contacted Malaysia’s Director-General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on Twitter who dismissed the claims saying that this is “Fake News”
Malaysian news portal Malaysiakini reported on Thursday that Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had dismissed as fake news a report carried by Indian media that an Indian national had died of coronavirus in Malaysia. Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told “Fake news. No one has died from coronavirus in Malaysia” when asked to comment on a report carried by India’s NDTV that a 23-year-old man from Tripura had died in a Malaysian hospital after being infected from a new strain of coronavirus.
What is the Truth?
Now to confirm the actual cause of the Indian citizen’s death we required the death certificate mentioning the cause of death. This could be acquired from two places one from the Malaysian Hospital and second from the deceased’s family.
Fact Crescendo contacted Mr. Tau Chau Chan, independent journalist from Singapore and Mr. Khalil Majeed, independent journalist from Malaysia who informed us this Indian patient was admitted in Sultan Aminah Hospital in Johor.
Fact Crescendo contacted Sultan Aminah Hospital in Johor, Malaysia who confirmed us that the name of the patient is Hossain Manir who died 29 January 2020 and the reason of this death is Status Epilepticus Secondary Meningoencephalitis. They also mentioned that patients who are infected with coronavirus are not kept in Sultan Aminah Hospital; there is a separate place for patients who are infected with coronavirus.
However, they were unable to provide us with the death certificate, as it is a private document provided only to the patient’s family.
Next Fact Crescendo contacted family members of the deceased, Manir Hossain. Misan Miah, elder brother of the deceased, said that the death of Manir was due to fever and sickness and they have not received any such report from the authorities concerned in Malaysia. He confirmed us that the death of his brother was due to sickness and fever and not due to coronavirus.
He provided us the death certificate issued by the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Malaysia, which clearly mentions the reason of death to be Status Epilepticus Secondary Meningoencephalitis. You can see the copy of the death certificate provided to Fact Crescendo below.
(Death certificate of Manir Hossain issued by the Sultanah Aminah Hospital)
Thus, from the death certificate we can be clear that the Indian Citizen from Tripura did not die due to Coronavirus.
Manir’s brother added that Manir used to work in a restaurant in Malaysia since 2018. He was admitted in the hospital due to fever and in two days they got the news about his death. He mentioned that they met the secretary of the chief minister and submitted a letter requesting his office to help them in bringing back the body. However, they are still awaiting for a response from the CMO.
Misan Miah has also shared a copy of the letter submitted by them to the CMO to Fact Crescendo.
Along with this, he has also shared a copy of his brother, late Manir Hossain’s Passport mentioning that he was originally from Purthal Rajnagar in Sepahijala district of Tripura.
How did the misreporting happen?
According to media reports such as ANI and IANS, it said that the death of the 23-year-old was due to coronavirus and his grandfather Abdul Rahim confirmed the same to them.
However, Misan Miah while speaking to Fact Crescendo mentioned that local reporters told his grandfather that if he tells the media people that the death of his grandson was due to coronavirus then the government would help in bringing back the body home soon.
He said,“We have never heard anything about Coronavirus and the cause of the death was also not clear since it was written using difficult medical terms which we could not understand.”.
Since Manir’s family is still awaiting a response form the CMO’s office, his elder brother Misan has urged the government to take immediate steps to bring his brother’s body back to India.
We searched for daily situation reports on WHO’s website and found that there has been no death caused due to Coronavirus as per the report published on 4 February 2020.
Conclusion- Upon our investigation, we found the above news reports to be False. An Indian citizen from Tripura did not die due to Coronavirus in Malaysia. The reason for his death is Status Epilepticus Secondary Meningoencephalitis.
Title:Fact Check- Indian citizen from Tripura did not die due to Coronavirus in MalaysiaFact Check By: Aavya Ray