- A photo of Alain Berset, the Swiss Minister of Health, facing mannequins in hospital beds, is circulating online and fuels suspicion of staging.
- The image was taken in a nursing staff training center.
- It was posted online by a Swiss newspaper with a potentially confusing caption. The newspaper then published a rectification article.
Models instead of patients? A photo of the Federal Minister for Santésuisse raised suspicion of the staging. We see Alain Berset, masked, standing in front of three hospital beds in which dolls are lying. In the background stand two caregivers.
The image sparked a number of ironic comments on social media. “The Swiss Minister of Health, Alain Berset, went to visit the dolls sick with the virus”, writes one Internet user, while another exclaims: “Debility. Is he afraid of dying? “.
The image is authentic, but it was taken at a caregiver training location. On December 16, Alain Berset traveled to Neuchâtel, where he visited a hospital, but he also went to the Haute-Ecole Arc, a higher education establishment which notably provides health training. This is where the photo was taken.
The confusion arose from a legend on the website of the Swiss newspaper Blick. The daily posted the minister’s photo there, merely indicating that Alain Berset had visited the hospital in Neuchâtel. Noticing the confusion born on social networks, the newspaper then published an article of correction, specifying that the photo was taken in a training room of the Haute-Ecole Arc.
The author of the photo, Laurent Gilliéron, of the Keystone agency, denounced the misappropriation of his image on social networks, pointing to “fake news”. The misleading image also circulated in Austria and Spain.
Faced with Covid-19, Switzerland launched its vaccination campaign on Wednesday. Since the start of the epidemic, more than 415,000 cases have been recorded in the Confederation, which deplores 6,300 deaths.