This video shows a police drill in India during the coronavirus pandemic
A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook in April 2020 alongside a claim it shows police in India detaining people in a van carrying a COVID-19 patient after they failed to wear face masks outside. The claim is misleading; a spokesperson for India’s Tiruppur Police told AFP the video was staged for a police drill during the coronavirus pandemic; the video has previously circulated in media reports about a police drill in Tiruppur district.
The video was published here on Facebook on April 24. 2020. It has been viewed more than 9,200 times and shared more than 270 times.
The two-minute 18-second video shows police forcefully detaining people before putting them into a vehicle which is carrying a person on a stretcher.
Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:
The post’s Thai caption translates to English as: “In India, people who don’t wear masks are put into a van that has COVID-19 patient (Police were pretended to be a patient).”
As of May 5, 2020, India reported more than 1,500 deaths and almost 33,000 cases of COVID-19, according to Indian Ministry of Health figures. In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the country has also been in a state of nationwide lockdown since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on March 25, 2020.
Comments from some Facebook users on the misleading post indicated they believed the video shows a real police incident.
One person wrote: "This is good, they deserved it".
Another said: "I want Thailand to do something similar to this It's so satisfying!!! LOL."
And one Facebook user wrote: "They knew it was dangerous but they didn't realise. There are people like this everywhere in the world."
Below is a screenshot of the some of the comments with names redacted by AFP:
The video, however, has been shared in a misleading context.
The video’s title reads: “Fake Covid patient’: TN Police releases awareness video for lockdown violators”
The video caption states: “Tamil Nadu’s Tiruppur police department releases awareness video for lockdown violators. In the promotional video, police can be seen putting lockdown violators with fake Covid-19 patients. This was an enactment video where even the violators were performers. People have been violating lockdown norms amid the coronavirus threat. India is under a nationwide lockdown till May 3 in view of Covid-19.”
Tiruppur is a district in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state.
Below is a screenshot comparison of keyframes in the video in the misleading post (L) and the Hindustan Times video (R):
Tiruppur Police told AFP the video was “staged”.
During a phone conversation on April 27, 2020, Tiruppur Police’s senior officer Jeyachandran said: "There is no truth that anyone was made to sit with COVID-19 patient. The person in the ambulance was not COVID-19 positive and this whole mock exercise was done only to create awareness that people should sit at home and follow the lockdown rules."