Fake News: Video From China Does NOT Show People Trying To Escape Coronavirus Quarantine

Fact Check

  • by: Ryan Cooper

Does video from China show people "feeling the heat" of the Wuhan coronavirus as they try to escape the quarantine? No, that's not true: The video is actually from an anti-government protest and was posted on December 18, 2019, well before authorities put a quarantine into effect in Wuhan, China, and other cities in Hubei province.

The claim originated from a tweet published by C-Store News on February 4, 2020, (archived here). It opened:

"Video from China shows People feeling the heat of the #Coronavirus, people trying to escape the quarantine zone. #Wuhan #CSCEC #China #coronavirus. , #冠狀病毒, #וירוס, #코로나바이러스, #コロナウイルス, #коронавирус, https://t.co/zdQiBnyzcC"

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Users on social media only saw this:

C-Store News on Twitter

"Video from China shows People feeling the heat of the #Coronavirus, people trying to escape the quarantine zone. #Wuhan #CSCEC #China #coronavirus. , #冠狀病毒, #וירוס, #코로나바이러스, #コロナウイルス, #коронавирус, https://t.co/zdQiBnyzcC"

The Twitter user claimed the video, which showed a fiery protest, was of people trying to escape the coronavirus quarantine zones in China. In actuality, the same video was posted on December 18, 2019, and purportedly showed an anti-government protest in Maoming, China. Like Hong Kong, the city in Guangdong province has been the site of clashes between police and residents.

The video (here and here) was posted well before authorities in China imposed a lockdown on more than a dozen cities in Hubei province to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, which as of February 4, 2020, has killed more than 420 people, according to The New York Times.

We wrote about other recent fake news concerning coronavirus:

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Ryan Cooper

Ryan Cooper, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is the former Director of Programming at CNN International, where he helped shape the network's daily newscasts broadcast to more than 280 million households around the world. He was based at the network's Los Angeles Bureau. There, he managed the team responsible for a three-hour nightly program, Newsroom LA.

Formerly, he worked at the headquarters in Atlanta, and he spent four years at the London bureau. An award-winning producer, Cooper oversaw the network's Emmy Award-winning coverage of the uprising in Egypt in 2011. He also served as a supervising producer during much of the network's live reporting on the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006, for which CNN received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Read more about or contact Ryan Cooper

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