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Are these viral videos on the coronavirus authentic?


We take stock of three particularly viral videos allegedly linked to the coronavirus epidemic in China

A health check upon the arrival of passengers from Wuhan city to Beijing, January 22, 2020. - Emily Wang / AP / SIPA

  • While the deadly coronavirus epidemic in China is leading to increasingly important health measures, some images allegedly linked to this crisis are gaining high visibility.
  • Three videos are particularly shared on social networks.
  • 20 Minutes recalls their authenticity.

As China steps up health measures - such as quarantining the city of Wuhan, at the center of the epidemic - to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has already killed 17 people, particularly disturbing videos allegedly linked to this phenomenon are experiencing great virality on social networks. 20 Minutes looked at three of them.


Row by row, a medical team with a face protected by a mask and a body covered with a long coverall, inspects the various passengers of an airplane using a device aimed at their foreheads. But is this widely relayed video claiming to show a health check for passengers departing from the city of Wuhan, where the deadly epidemic appeared, is it authentic?

VIRUS IN ASIA: The spread of the virus has killed 6 people in Wuhan, the epicenter city of the disease. Dozens of new cases have been reported in China. To date, 291 cases have been confirmed and 922 patients are under observation (AFP). #Coronavirus

- French Info (@InfosFrancaises) January 21, 2020

It was filmed in Air China flight CA119 from Wuhan to Macau on January 12, according to The Beijing News , who was able to interview the videographer who filmed the sequence. The latter says that this measurement of the temperature of the passengers lasted about ten minutes and that no feverish person was spotted. A procedure which has become standard on Wuhan-Macao flights in order to send the passengers concerned to the hospital for examinations, according to the daily newspaper, like most of the country's press headlines, by the Chinese Communist Party.

Contacted by 20 Minutes on this subject, Air China had not responded to our requests before the publication of the article.

A disinfectant vehicle filmed in the streets of Shanghai?

"Disinfection in a district of Shanghai". Whatever the language in which it is broadcast, the legend of this video almost never varies: if you believe it, it shows a vehicle in the process of disinfecting an entire residential area of ​​Shanghai potentially contaminated by coronavirus by broadcasting a large white smoke in its path.

Disinfection in a district of Shanghai #coronavirus

- Zhulin Zhang (@ZhangZhulin) January 21, 2020

Contacted by 20 Minutes , the Australian journalist who posted this particularly viral video on his Twitter account - before he deleted it - explains that it was "broadcast by a friend of a friend in a public group [of the Chinese social network] Wechat ", but that the friend in question does not know where it comes from.

The same video had also been posted a few days ago in a public Telegram group particularly popular with Chinese users, which has nearly 30,000 members. Contacted by 20 Minutes , the internet user who shared the video explains that she herself relayed it after having seen it posted by another internet user, who tells us that it was filmed on January 21 in Ruihong , district located in the north of Shanghai.

If we have not been able to verify the location or the exact nature of the product released by the vehicle, the video is very recent. The reverse image search does not bring up any results dating back several months or years - which therefore excludes at least the possibility that it is a pre-existing video of the coronavirus epidemic which is today reused out of context. Difficult to know more at this stage.

The video is also relayed to accompany an equally viral rumor: a woman named Liu Qingxian, head of a municipal health service in the city of Wuhan, would have been infected with the coronavirus while she was passing through Shanghai but would have fled the hospital before being intercepted and isolated in the Ruihong district. A claim denied by the authorities concerned, as noted by The Beijing News .

A potential victim of the virus transported in a protective tube?

Lying on a stretcher covered with a long protective tube, a "person suspected of being infected with the coronavirus" is taken care of by a medical team in a full suit who delicately rids him from an ambulance. The scene lasts only 15 seconds but we find it on many Twitter accounts, in particular, according to its times.

#China Video documenting the transport of a person suspected of being infected with #Coronavirus in Huizhou. # China #Virus #Pneumonia

- Rebecca Rambar (@RebeccaRambar) January 21, 2020

It was originally posted on the morning of January 21 by an verified source, namely the Twitter account of Radio Free Asia (RFA), a popular radio station, with an even more detailed caption, explaining in particular that the video was tour in Huizhou, in the province of Guandgong, in the south of China.

【】 全副 装备 运送 病人
广东 惠州 发现 疑似 感染 新型 冠状 病毒 病人 , 在 救伤 车 运送 期间 , 医护人员 都 做足 了 准备 , 病人 几乎 是 被 完全 密封 着。 # 新型 冠状 病毒 # 武汉 # 广东

- 自由 亚洲 电台 (@RFA_Chinese) January 21, 2020

"The medical staff were fully prepared for the reception of the ambulance and the patient [suspected of having coronavirus] was [...] well isolated," said the media.


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  • Fake Off
  • Health
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Source: 20minf

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