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Video falsely claims to show bodies of virus victims in China

February 21, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Video shows dead bodies waiting to be picked up in Wuhan, China, due to new coronavirus. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video shows people sleeping in the streets in Shenzhen, China, a city over 600 miles away from Wuhan. 

THE FACTS: A video circulating on social media that shows bodies covered with blankets on a street in China, is falsely identified as people who died from the new coronavirus.

“Wuhan China. Dead Bodies waiting 4 pickup. Coronavirus NO ordinary Virus. Is it intentionally released BIO WEAPON?” a Twitter user posted on Feb. 17. 

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The video actually shows people in Shenzhen sleeping on a street after the government issued a permit system for entering and exiting the city to prevent the spread of the virus. The Associated Press confirmed the location of the video through satellite imagery, and matched the buildings from the clip with buildings on Hualong Road. 

According to local reports, the Shenzhen government introduced the permit system on Feb. 9. The system resulted in people being forced to sleep on the street overnight, according to several posts that featured the video. In a video of the scene shot from a different angle, it is clear the people have duvets and pillows. 

The new coronavirus outbreak first emerged in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province in December. There are confirmed cases in more than two dozen countries. Mainland China has more than 75,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,200 deaths.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536