Video of a Colombian coronavirus mock drill shared as a real incident of the infection

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A video showing a person suffering from a coughing fit and falling over is going viral on social media. The two minutes and nineteen seconds long video shows a group of medical professionals cordoning off the area where the man fell and putting him in a body bag.

Claim: “आँखे खोलने वाला सच।देख लो 5 मिनट नहीं लगेगी मौत आने में ।अभी भी वक्त है मेरें दोस्तों संभालो अपने आपको”

(Translation: This is the eye-opening truth. Look, it doesn’t even take 5 minutes for death to come knocking. There is still time my friends, take care of yourselves.)

 

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This video amassed over 1,28,000 views and was shared more than 1,400 times at the time of this report.

 

 

 

 

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Truth

Upon analysing the viral video using InVid, we noticed that the video had a stamp on the bottom right, which said “Pitaleños de Coraz”.  One frame of the video also shows a vehicle marked ‘Ambulancia’, which is the Spanish word for ‘Ambulance’ as detected by Google Translate.

 

 

We used ‘Pitaleños de Coraz’ as a keyword to search with, and found that ‘Pitaleños de Corazòn‘ is the slogan of a municipity called El Pital in  Huila, a town in Colombia. (Link)

 

 

Using the frames segmented by InVid and with the help of Google’s search tools, we found that the video was first uploaded to Facebook on April 25, 2020. The page that it was first posted on is called Alcaldía El Pital or Mayor of El Pital, which is the official Facebook page of the mayor of El Pital, Hugo Ferny Casanova Nipí.

 

 

(Translation: DRILL FOR COVID – 19 EL PITAL (HUILA)
Through the theatre – forum and under the supervision of personnel suitable for this activity, the municipal administration headed by Mayor Hugo Ferney Casanova Nipi, National Police, San Juan de Dios Health Center, National Army, make a call to the Pital community. To become aware of the COVID – 19 virus, all this is done using the appropriate protection measures that have been decreed by (Ministry of Health).
We do not want these actions to take place in our municipality, we should become aware, God bless us.)

 

The video was made as a drill by the municipal authorities of El Pital to spread awareness about the seriousness of the COVID-19 virus among the citizens of the area.

The full video is five minutes and forty-nine seconds long. After the viral clipping of the video ends, a  healthcare worker dressed in PPE is seen addressing the people in the area, informing them that the incident was a drill or a simulation.

A Colombian fact-checking website, ColombiaCheck also fact-checked this video (link). They spoke to Francisco Rojas Castillo, a government secretary in El Pital.

(Translation: “In total, we did that activity four times that day. We did it in the San Javier park, we made it diagonal to the Alcaldia, in the Agrarian Bank and in a nearby path called El Socorro. The video that other people shared is edited, it lacks a part in which we announce that it is a simulation, ”Rojas told us, in conclusion.)

He further explained that the person who had the cough attack was another government official with some experience in theatre, who has previously done such activities.

 

Hence, this video does not show a person dying due to the coronavirus and is a simulation from Colombia.


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Aishwarya Varma

Avid reader, decent baker. Lifelong student. Better with animals than people.