An independent Facebook user posted several pictures of some medication and a picture of King and Queen of Bhutan with a claim that “Bhutan is a country that never had cancer and no single COVID-19 case because Bhutanese are vegetarian”. The caption of the post translates as follows:
“A country that has never had cancer, there is no one who is affected by covid-19”
The King and Queen of Bhutan are vegetarian.
Bhutan is destined to be the happiest country. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck born in 1980. The one the world sees as the most impressive contemporary leader. Under his leadership, Bhutan was hailed by the world press as having the cleanest climate, as well as the title of the happiest country in the world.
Bhutan is a special country. The people do not slaughter, do not kill cows or ducks… no fishing and shooting birds for meat. There is no robbery and rioting in the country… Go out of the house without locking the door. Vegetables are 100% organic. They live in harmony, without quarrel. The average life expectancy of a citizen in this Kingdom is 90 years or older. The cancer on this country is unprecedented.
Statistics until now tell, Bhutan has no COVID-19 infected people. This proves that fasting contributes a lot to World peace in general and Kingdom of Bhutan in particular. The non-killing of Bhutan people brings a clean atmosphere, as well as enveloped by a peaceful, happy energy and from school. Every disaster, plague is not enough cause to invade this Kingdom.
From now on let’s each love ourselves more and s. F D. S. A. S. A. M. n. g is all s. Sigh. n p. h. e. f u r. Oh. c. o. e. g. n t.r.o.n.g PROJECT 818 of the Ministry of Health contributes to the improvement of quality of life.”
(Translation might have error due to language barrier)
In order to Investigate the claim, we checked the statistics of COVID-19 cases in Bhutan. Based on the search results, as of 26th March 2022, there were 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bhutan in a day.
While 59,614 cases were reported since 2020.
We also fact checked the claim that Bhutan has never reported cancer disease and we found this claim to be invalid as well. According to the official report of Ministry of Health Bhutan, the population-based cancer registry, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) recorded 2648 cancer cases during the period 2014-2017. A total of 941 (477 in males and 464 in females) individuals including children died from cancers during the period 2014-2018.
Another claim made by user, that Bhutan is free of COVID-19 because Bhutanese are vegetarian and don’t consume raw meat, was also verified through the World Health Organization website and it was found to be invalid.
Our research confirmed that the claims made in post are completely baseless and false. As of 26th March 2022, there were 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bhutan, while 59,614 cases were reported since 2020. Also, a total of 941 (477 in males and 464 in females) individuals including children died from cancers during the period 2014-2018 in Bhutan. The post can be an effort to praise the Kingdom for its health policies and to state groundless advantages of being a vegetarian.
ABCDE Framework-Based Analysis
|Actor||Independent account on Facebook is involved in spreading misinformation on social media.|
|Behavior||The baseless claim of no cancer and no COVID-19 cases reported in Bhutan was made.|
|Content||Social Media post.|
|Degree||The content is being spread to misinform people. The target audience of the news was general public of Bhutan and people from other parts of world. Misinformation was mainly spread on Facebook.|
|Effect||There was no evident harmful effect of the misinformation but it is misleading in its nature. It is being portrayed that people of Bhutan are immune to cancer and COVID-19 because a large number of Bhutanese are vegetarian. It can create the impression of spread of disease by eating meat which is completely untrue and repudiated by the World Health Organization.|