Amidst the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 in India, in a social media post, a woman is seen raising multiple questions on the nature of the virus and its authenticity while she attempts to paint a conspiracy theory picture. Let us fact-check the claims in the post.
Claim 1: The World Bank exported COVID-19 Medical test kits to all the countries in 2018.
Fact: While it is true that medical test kits were exported to countries in 2018, these were later in April 2020 classified and relabelled as critical to tackling COVID-19 by World Customs Organization (WCO). Prior to that, the products had been listed since 2017, but not in relation to the pandemic. Therefore, the claim is MISLEADING.
The woman in the video claims that not just in India, but the leaders of all the countries in the world are inching towards depopulation. She further substantiates the claims by citing the data from World Bank Organization, an international financial institution that provides loans to the governments of low- and middle-income countries. The woman in the video is seen to read out from her notes that through the World Bank website, countries were purchasing COVID-19 test kits in 2018 implying prior knowledge of the COVID-19 crisis.
The screenshots show web pages entitled “COVID-19 Test kits (382200) imports by country in 2017” or “COVID-19 Test kits (300215) exports by country in 2018” with a detailed list broken down by country (screenshot below) where the product description is “COVID-19 Test kits” and the year is listed as 2018 or 2017.
However, the World Bank has clarified that these kits exported in 2018 had nothing to do with COVID-19 and are misinterpreted as a result of the recent classification changes to Harmonized System (HS) codes in April 2020 by the World Customs Organization (WCO). Prior to that, the products had been listed since 2017, but not in relation to the pandemic. The data and tables can be found on the World Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS) website. WITS is a joint initiative of the World Bank, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and the World Trade Organization (WTO), among others, providing data on trade and tariffs.
These medical test kits used diagnostic reagents based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nucleic acid test.
What is PCR Test?
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is overly sensitive and is performed to detect the presence of viral RNA by targeting one or more gene fragments. The test could also detect fragments of the virus even after an individual is no longer infected. The PCR test is not specific or unique to COVID-19 but has revolutionised the laboratory diagnosis of other viral respiratory infections due to its improved detection sensitivity, rapidness, potential for simultaneous detection of 15 or more respiratory agents, and the reduced risk of carry-over contamination. It is currently used as the ‘gold standard’ for diagnosing COVID-19 since it is the most accurate and reliable test.
Therefore, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, it was only in April 2020 that these medical kits were revised and classified by World Customs Organization as critical to facilitate monitoring their movements, as a measure to tackle COVID-19. However, it does not prove that countries were buying test kits for COVID-19 prior to the detection of Sars-Cov-2 in December 2019 in China. In fact, World Bank released a statement and clarified that COVID-19 tests did not exist before 2020. Similar fact-checks have been covered here, here, here, and here.
Claim 2: The United Nations will establish a New World Order by 2030 which envisions one government, end of national sovereignty, depopulation and mandatory multiple vaccinations, end of irrigation & grazing livestock, private firms, among other goals.
Fact: The United Nations official has clarified that the list of these goals is completely false and in fact, attributed these claims to far-right misinformation campaigns. Therefore, the claim is FALSE.
The woman in the video continues to propagate the idea of the New World Order UN Agenda 21/2030, which she claims to have been formulated in 1990s and further attributes and links the point on multiple vaccinations to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. She further claims that this is a man-made crisis fought between the top 1% population and the rest of the population including the common man.
What is the UN Agenda 21/2030?
UN Agenda 21 refers to a non-binding resolution agreed to at the UN’s 1992 Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The resolution includes 31 goals and aims for nations to take a holistic approach to social, economic, and environmental change, proposes possible solutions for global problems, and aims to empower previously disenfranchised groups.
However, since its inception, Agenda 21’s 31 goals for sustainable development have been targeted by conspiracists. According to a 2014 report from Southern Poverty Law Centre, a US-based civil rights group, “Agenda 21 has been transformed in much of the American public mind into a secret plot to impose a totalitarian world government, a nefarious effort to crush freedom in the name of environmentalism”
In this context, the New World Order document featured in multiple fake social media posts outline 23 different mission goals attributed to the UN. However, the document was neither drafted by the UN nor do the goals align with the agendas it references.
Having searched about the UN’s New World Order, we have found the origins of the message to be back in May 2020 in a tweet and also found a supposed unnwo.org website. However, according to the Spanish International news fact-check, sources from the UN General Secretariat confirmed that there is no evidence to suggest that the United Nations will establish ‘one world government’ and that the website is impersonated by a private entity and is in no way linked to the official United Nations website.
According to this AFP Fact-check, Heidi Beirich, an expert of extremist movements said, “That post is filled with all the bogus claims the far right has made against [Agenda 21] for a long time now. [It is] just a false attempt to paint sensible plans for sustainable development as some sort of communist plan, which it is not.” The UN spokesperson also noted that Agenda 21 and the 2030 Agenda are not legally binding. In fact, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a resolution adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2015 that is focused on achieving 17 goals within 15 years. For example, the U.N.’s 2030 agenda proposes a goal of reducing the rates of child and maternal mortality in every country. This goal supports research and development of vaccines and medicines for diseases primarily affecting developing countries, according to the U.N. But it doesn’t call for “mandatory multiple vaccines”, as claimed in the post. Similar fact-checks can be accessed here and here.
In summary, the medical test kits distributed by the World Bank in 2018 were in no way related to the COVID-19 crisis, they were only classified in April 2020 to be used against the coronavirus. Therefore, owing to the misinterpretation of the classification of the HS codes, the claim is misleading. On the other hand, there is no evidence to prove that the United Nations is promoting a New World Order therefore, the claim is false.