Malaysia Health Minister Adham Baba has claimed that drinking warm water can help to prevent the Covid-19 infection.
Adham’s controversial comments were seen by Malaysians via a video of his appearance on RTM’s Bicara Naratif programme on March 19, Malay Mail reported.
The health minister, who is a doctor, was said to have recommended that Malaysians ensure their mouths and throats are always moist, as this will help to wash the virus down the oesophagus, so that it can be killed by stomach acid.
The brief 45-second video segment can be viewed here, where he drank water on the programme:
Responses to dubious advice
As expected, Malaysians were not ready to take such advice lying down.
A lawyer, Syahredzan Johan, called it out sarcastically as "a great life hack that everyone should know".
Here is the video of the Health Minister saying that drinking water can get rid of the virus. We need to ensure that the virus is removed from our throat, and drinking water can do that— Syahredzan シア (@syahredzan) March 20, 2020
If this is correct, I think this is a great life hack that everyone should know. https://t.co/L7UhCrtY3c
Another response was by Nur Amalina, a doctor, who tweeted: “Not recommended by doctors and it is no evidence-based.”
She also wrote: "There’s also no evidence that acid in your stomach can kill the virus."
Not recommended by doctors and it is not evidence-based. Thank you.— Dr. Amalina (@DrAmalinaBakri) March 20, 2020
There’s also no evidence that acid in your stomach can kill the virus.— Dr. Amalina (@DrAmalinaBakri) March 20, 2020
Steven Sim, a Malaysian Bukit Mertajam MP, also took to Twitter to urge the Health Ministry to debunk its minister’s claims.
The former deputy youth and sports minister wrote: “In this time of crisis, I hope @KKMPutrajaya will address the statement by YB Health Minister that warm water can ‘ease’ the passage of the Covid-19 virus to the stomach where it will be destroyed by stomach acid. The rakyat need accurate facts to protect themselves.”
Dalam keadaan krisis ini,saya harap @KKMPutrajaya akan mengesahkan kenyataan YB Menteri Kesihatan bahawa minum air suam boleh "menyah-kan" virus Covid-19 ke perut dan dihapus oleh asid perut.Rakyat perlu fakta yang betul untuk melindungi diri. TQ. https://t.co/Vca4mD5CFg— Steven Sim 🇲🇾 #Bangsa (@scheekeong) March 20, 2020
@KKMPutrajaya is the Health Ministry’s Twitter handle.
Popular false remedy
The claim that warm water is capable of defeating the Covid-19 infection has been making the rounds online.
BBC has labelled this rumour about drinking water at regular 15-minute intervals and keeping your mouth moist to protect against Covid-19 as among the most widely shared online fables.