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Indian boy passed off as Saudi victim of nasal swab mishap

A photo published by a website purportedly of a 1-year-old Saudi Arabian boy who died July 11 hours after undergoing a surgery to extract a fractured nasal swab stick happens to be the photo of another child.

The child in the photo Careerz Online used for its story, “Isang Bata, Nasawi matapos mag pa SWAB test (Child dies after swab test),” is not the Saudi toddler who was treated at the Shaqra General Hospital in Riyadh. He is an older boy undergoing a nasal swab test in April in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the Indian state of Gujarat.

The Indian boy was photographed by the Associated Press. His photo appeared as early as April 10 in various news outlets around the world, including the Asian Age, an English-language Indian daily newspaper, and News Chief, a daily paper in Florida owned by Gannett.

The AP photo was captioned:

A boy reacts to a swab test during lockdown to control the spread of the new coronavirus in Ahmedabad
Associated Press photo of a boy in India undergoing a swab test. Source: Asian Age
Associated Press photo of a boy in India undergoing a swab test. Source: Asian Age

Careerz Online cropped the photo of the boy and juxtaposed it with an image of nasal swab stick.

The 1-year-old boy who died at the Shaqra General Hospital is the son of Abdullah Al Joufan who was quoted as saying that the swab stick broke inside the child's nasal cavity while he was being examined for possible COVID-19 infection. The toddler was running a fever when taken to the hospital.

The victim’s photos were published July 13 by Al, the website of a Saudi television channel based in Dubai which was among the first to break the news of the child’s death.

Photo of Saudi boy published by Al Arabiya. Pixelation by FactRakers

Careerz Online, which caters to overseas job hunters, began publishing in 2017.

Its story on the Saudi toddler was posted in 55 Philippine Facebook groups with a combined following of 3 million, according to the social media monitoring tool Crowdtangle. It has generated 38,895 interactions on Facebook.


Isang Bata, Nasawi matapos mag pa SWAB test! (2020, July 17). Retrieved from

Parra, A. & Becatoros, E. (2020, April 10). Coronavirus: Economic devastation looms on a Good Friday like no other. News Chief. Retrieved from

Scientists identify six potential drugs to tackle coronavirus outbreak. (2020, April 10). The Asian Age. Retrieved from


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