The French government has released a statement warning citizens that cocaine does not cure coronavirus after a false claim was shared on social media.
A mocked up 'breaking news' alert was shared online recently which claimed that the drug could fight off the potentially fatal Covid-19 virus.
However, you won't be surprised to learn that the claim is absolute nonsense and over the weekend, the French Ministry of Social Affairs and Health took to Twitter to say: "No, cocaine does NOT protect against Covid-19.
#Coronavirus ' Désinfox
:x: Non, La cocaïne NE protège PAS contre le #COVID19 .
:white_check_mark: C'est une drogue addictive provoquant de graves effets indésirables et nocifs pour la santé des personnes.
:point_right: https://t.co/ajSGwecauL pic.twitter.com/4GZ01Qmg5X
- Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé (@MinSoliSante) March 8, 2020
"It is an addictive drug that causes serious side effects and is harmful to people's health."
The tweet was shared as it was announced that France has more than 1,100 confirmed cases of the virus, with 19 dead.
President Emmanuel Macron held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the ongoing outbreak.
The president set the country's alert level at Stage 2 and announced it would be banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, in the UK the death toll has risen to five with 319 confirmed cases.
In an attempt to combat fake news, the UK government has set up a specialist unit to counter disinformation and stop it spreading.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "Defending the country from misinformation and digital interference is a top priority."
He went on to say that the experts involved would 'make sure we can respond effectively should these threats be identified in relation to the spread of the Covid-19 virus'.
He added: "This work includes regular engagement with the social media companies, which are well placed to monitor interference and limit the spread of disinformation, and will make sure we are on the front foot to act if required."
Facebook has already announced its measures to crack down on false information.
The social media giant has hired third-party fact checkers who will look into claims made online and, if found to be spurious, limit their spread on both Facebook and Instagram.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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