Fact Check: Bulgarian PM Did NOT Visit The Military Medical Academy To Launch New Pandemic

проверка на факти

  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: Bulgarian PM Did NOT Visit The Military Medical Academy To Launch New Pandemic Made-Up Story

Did Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov visit the Military Medical Academy (MMA) to launch a new pandemic wave? No, that's not true: According to the government and credible media, the reason for Denkov's visit to meet with the hospital's management and his visit to the Chemical-Toxicological Laboratory (part of the Department of Toxicology of the MMA), were related to concerns about delays regarding the backlog of samples sent to identify drivers suspected of alcohol and drug abuse.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok (archived here) published by @bulgarianfen_681 on September 18, 2023.

The Bulgarian text above the photo reads, translated by Lead Stories staff in English:

The media say that Denkov was in the MMA because of the drunks and junkies! This is a lie! Denkov has gone to launch the new pandemic wave with Mutafchiiski! That's what is happening! Mass testing will now begin to prove that there is a wave of COVID here, like in Romania, and the strict measures will start soon! Romania has 2,000 patients per day! It will be the same here! Get ready for lockdown.

The Bulgarian text on top of the photo translates further as:

This is happening because they want to block the upcoming protests! Our tolerance and inaction will kill us! We will be in big trouble if we don't do something immediately!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-09-26 at 9.03.15.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Sep 26 06:19:51 2023 UTC)

No evidence or media reports from reliable news sites support the claim that PM Denkov personally went to the MMA to launch a new pandemic wave. A search with the words "Denkov" and "MMA" written in Bulgarian, performed by Lead Stories on September 26, 2023, using Google News' index of thousands of credible news sites, did not return any results.

The claims in the video gravitate around the idea that part of Denkov's meeting with the hospital management was with General Mutafchiiski, who is known to have led the National Operational Headquarters to fight COVID-19 in Bulgaria during the early days of the pandemic. Denkov, however, met with General Prof. Dr. Ventsislav Mutafchiiski as part of the hospital management and head of the MMA.

According to media reports, the Prime Minister's visit is part of the government's efforts to reduce road accidents in the country after it became clear that more than 900 samples of drug and alcohol tests are waiting to be processed. Denkov's visit to MMA is because the laboratory is the country's leader in forensic toxicological expertise.

The claim made in the TikTok video can be traced back to a Facebook user who is active in sharing news from websites with proven fabricated content that has been debunked by Lead Stories more than once. On the personal profile of the same user, three posts with similar content can be traced from September 18, 2023, with the TikTok video copying one of these posts. Another post shares a news article with similar content. Notably, the text of the article and the three posts are written in uppercase letters with a comparable style of writing and speech, and all use the same photo.

The article was also published on September 18, 2023, on a website created in early September 2023 that has been proven to publish news with false content. Lead Stories already fact-checked a false story from this site.

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