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Editor ‘horrified’ as hoax leaflets spread fake coronavirus news

Fake leaflets featuring a regional news website’s branding are being used to spread lies about coronavirus testing.

The misleading pamphlets, which are headed with the Birmingham Live logo, make unfounded claims and urge the public not to seek testing, the site has reported.

The leaflets have been slammed by both the site’s editor Graeme Brown and a top Birmingham health chief.

It comes after HTFP reported earlier this month how fake social media posts, purporting to be from Birmingham Live, had made unsubstantiated claims about Halal products and caused a number of businesses in the city to lose trade.

Brum fake

Graeme said: “I am horrified to hear people have been misusing the BirminghamLive brand to promote messages like this.

“We see first hand the work our NHS heroes are carrying out to address the coronavirus pandemic which has killed thousands in our region, and kept families apart.

“Our message is to listen to our fantastic healthcare professionals and official public health messages and stay safe.”

Birmingham City Council’s Director of Public Health Dr Justin Varney said the contents of the leaflets were “designed to spread fear”.

He added: “It is sad that we see this kind of twisting of information being distributed and such effort being put into spreading fear and distrust.

“If this effort was put into sharing the important science based messages about reducing the spread of Covid-19, then perhaps lives could be saved.

“The leaflet mixes information up to create sensationalism rather than sharing proper science and factual information and is designed to promote fear and distrust that ultimate could mean someone believes it, doesn’t get a test, is positive and goes on to infect people they love.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.