Fact check: The Queen and the WHO did not state children would be taken from their homes

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

A YouTube video featuring video statements from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Dr Michael Ryan of the World Health Organization (WHO) (here) carries the headline “WHO and Queen announce children will be taken from homes”. This is an entirely false claim and bears no relation to the remarks made in the video.

The video (here) contains footage from a WHO virtual press conference on March 30, 2020 (here) and from Queen Elizabeth’s address to the UK and Commonwealth which was broadcast on April 5, 2020 (here).

The WHO footage shows part of an answer given by Dr Michael Ryan, a senior advisor with the organization, from a Bloomberg journalist who asks if home quarantining could be as effective as centralized quarantining. During his answer Dr Ryan says: “at the moment in most parts of the world due to lockdown most of the transmission that's actually happening in many countries now is happening in the household at family level. In some senses transmission has been taken off the streets and pushed back into family units. Now we need to go and look in families to find those people who may be sick and remove them and isolate them in a safe and dignified manner”. He does not specifically mention children at any point in his answer. A full transcript of the press conference is available on the WHO website (here).

The footage of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is taken from her special broadcast recorded in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Queen references her first ever broadcast when she spoke in 1940 and the evacuation of children from cities during World War II ( In relation to lockdown measures in the UK and many Commonwealth countries she says: “today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do”. She does not suggest that children will be taken from their homes.


False. Video containing genuine footage from the World Health Organization and from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth does not contain any announcement that children will be taken from homes.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .