The Claim and Our Verdict
- The claim: A message circulating in WhatsApp groups claims to list over 140 restaurants in Hong Kong with confirmed COVID-19 cases thus far in the fifth wave of the outbreak.
- The restaurant list that is going viral online is very similar to the one published July 20, 2020, by WeekendHK, a local media website based in Hong Kong. The list marked down the restaurants with COVID-19 confirmed cases during Hong Kong’s third wave of COVID-19 infections. The claim just added 22 more restaurants on top of that.
- Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection released Jan. 7, 2022 an updated list of buildings visited by COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days, which includes restaurants such as Moon Palace at Festival Walk and Fortune Metropolis Akam Laksa, but these restaurants are not included in the WhatsApp list. Therefore, the WhatsApp list, which is using an old list issued during the third wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong, is false.
- People need to keep an eagle eye on similar lists that have been circulating online recently. For the latest updated information on the COVID-19 situation, you may visit the dashboard on the website of the Centre for Health Protection.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
HKBU Fact Check received a fact check request to verify a message that has been going viral among WhatsApp groups. The message, written in traditional Chinese, translates in part as, “More than 140 restaurants have been visited by COVID-19 cases, including diners, chefs, restaurant owners and staff.” It attaches a restaurant list below.
A keyword search found an article published July 20, 2020 by WeekendHK, a local media website based in Hong Kong. The article claims it lists out over 140 restaurants with COVID-19 cases during the third wave of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong. A comparison between the WeekendHK list and the WhatsApp list shows that the latter just added 22 more restaurants on top of the former.
The list of buildings visited by COVID-19 cases updated Jan. 7, 2022, by Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) includes restaurants such as Moon Palace at Festival Walk and Fortune Metropolis Akam Laksa. These restaurants are not included in the WhatsApp list.
The list presented in the claim, therefore, is based on the restaurant lists with confirmed COVID-19 cases during the third wave of the outbreak in Hong Kong. It is not in line with the list published by CHP. The viral WhatsApp list was shared in a false context.
Similar purported restaurant lists mentioning confirmed COVID-19 cases have been circulating online recently. People should keep an eagle eye on them. You may visit the dashboard on the CHP’s website to understand the latest pandemic situation in Hong Kong.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- Weekend HK, “List of 140 Hong Kong Restaurants/Shopping Malls/Buildings with Confirmed/Probable Cases of COVID-19,” July 20, 2020.
- Centre for Health Protection, “List of Buildings Visited by Cases Tested Positive for SARS-CoV-2 Virus in the Past 14 Days,” updated 7 January 2022.
- CHP Dashboard, Latest Situation of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Hong Kong.