Everyone’s looking for the latest information on health, and how to protect you and your family from the coronavirus in these uncertain times.
But with misinformation rife – and dangerous – it's important to make sure you get the facts, not falsehoods.
Hoaxes and health scares add to peoples’ anxiety at a time like this, particularly if they’re vulnerable or elderly.
From the rumour that 5G is causing Covid-19, to the myth that sipping water every hour stops you catching it, misinformation is everywhere.
Scams can pop up on your phone too, with fake texts supposedly from the Government, promising financial help or warning of a fine for breaking lockdown.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden (above) said: "The need for trusted information about coronavirus is vital. The UK media is performing a key role in getting this to people. “Misleading claims about the virus online could cost lives and we are working around the clock with tech firms to tackle these. We can all do our bit by being sceptical about what we read online. I urge people to follow these steps to ensure they’re not inadvertently spreading dangerous falsehoods."
Here we've debunked five of the most common myths to help keep people safe.
And below you can also check out the SHARE checklist for advice on how to spot fake news. And rely on trusted sources, not rumours, to check facts. For advice on health, that’s nhs.uk. For government guidance on work and money, it’s gov.uk
Myth: “If you go outside more than once a day, a ￡30 fine will be added to your mobile bill.”
FACT: Although the Government has advised people to stay at home, you can go outside for food, health reasons or work (if you can’t work from home). Your mobile company wouldn’t be collecting a fine.
Myth: “If you’re entitled to free school meals, send your bank details to receive financial support.”
FACT: This is fake and you never need to send your bank details via text or WhatsApp.
Myth: “Hot drinks can help flush the virus into your stomach, where the acid kills it.”
FACT: This has been categorically disproved.
Myth: “The Army is making a giant lasagne at Wembley and delivering it to every home via drone.”
FACT: This joke did the rounds via WhatsApp, but sadly for pasta lovers it’s not true.
Myth: “Lidl are giving away a ￡300 coupon for completing a short survey.”
FACT: Fake! Beware of phishing messages sent via WhatApp. Always check a retailer’s main website rather than clicking a link.
Before you share... SHARE
Think before you like, comment or share online and use the SHARE checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content about coronavirus.
Rely on official sources for medical and safety information. Check the facts about the coronavirus on the NHS.UK website and GOV.UK.
Headlines don’t always tell the full story. Always read to the end before you share articles on coronavirus.
Analyse the facts. If something sounds unbelievable, it might very well be. Independent fact-checking services are correcting false information about the coronavirus every day.
Watch out for misleading pictures and videos in stories about coronavirus. They might be edited, or show an unrelated place or event. Check to see who else is using the photo.
Look out for mistakes. Spelling and other errors might mean the information is false. Official guidance about coronavirus will always have been checked carefully.