A video where a person lying on a gurney is gasping for breath is doing the rounds on WhatsApp. In the backdrop of coronavirus outbreak in India, the video is being circulated with the claim that it’s from Karnataka’s Mangalore city. The claim further adds that the clip shows a COVID-19 patient in the isolation ward of Wenlock Hospital.

On WhatsApp, it is being shared as the first nCoV case in Mangalore.

Alt News has also received multiple requests on its official Android application to verify this video.

Another claim

The same video was shared by a Facebook user with the claim that the person is a coronavirus patient admitted at a hospital in Banaras. “बनारस में भर्ती कोरोना वायरस के मरीज का यह वीडियो देखकर आप लोग समझे की कितनी गंभीर स्थिति है सिर्फ बचाओ ही इसका उपाय है कहीं भी भीड़ ना मचाए 1 मीटर की दूरी अवश्य बनाए रहे घड़ी घंटा बजाने वालों से भी अनुरोध है कि जुलूस के रूप में ना निकले गंभीरता से लें”, reads the claim.

We got requests for fact-check on our application with the same claim.

NOT from India

Alt News performed a reverse search on one of the keyframes extracted from the video and found that it’s from Ecuador. On March 18, a Twitter user from Ecuador posted several videos of a patient, who, according to her, was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. The video was shot at a hospital centre in Valencia city of Ecuador’s Los Rios province. Her Twitter bio, says, “Ecuadorian from Guayaquil. Doctor. Researcher”.

According to her tweets, the medical personnel attending the patient didn’t have personal protection equipment (PPE) except for a mask. She posted one more video of the patient receiving ‘artificial hydration’ with the caption, “this video shows the intercostal circulation, a sign of reduced air pressure inside the chest. (-translated)” In the tweet, she informs that the patient might be transferred to a hospital in Quevedo city. In the video, people can be heard speaking Spanish. While the audio is not clear, a person says, “do you see how it moves”, while pulling the patient’s shirt up. Later in the video, we hear someone say, “Is that enough?”

She tweeted a third video and informed that the patient is waiting for transfer to a makeshift isolation room “without oxygen cannula, without a ventilator, without being able to breathe.”

The thread ends with a criticism for the Ecuadorian government that hospitals in her country do not have the means to help a sick person with respiratory infections. It may be noted that except for the hashtag (#COVID19) in her first tweet, she doesn’t refer to the coronavirus.

Moreover, we also found a Facebook post by a page named, C6 Televisión Babahoyo. Babahoyo is the capital of Los Rios province. According to the ‘about us’ section of the Facebook page, it’s based in Babahoyo, the capital of Los Rios province. On the same day, the page had posted this video with a message that clarifies that the patient was suffering from respiratory issues and NOT coronavirus.

#ATENCIÓN | El caso de la joven que se presenta en el vídeo, corresponde a una paciente con “Síndrome de abstinencia respiratoria” y no de afectación de coronavirus.

Posted by C6 Televisión Babahoyo on Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Alt News was unable to independently ascertain specific details about the video. Albeit, it can be said with certainty that the video was first circulated in Ecuador with the claim that the patient was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. In the background, people can also be heard talking in Spanish which hints that the clip was not shot in India. The social media claim that it shows a patient from Mangalore who was infected with the coronavirus is false.

A complaint has been filed with Mangalore police by the Medical superintendent of District Government Wenlock Hospital seeking action against those who have circulated the videos as of their hospital. “The video surfaced on social media platforms soon after the first COVID-19 positive case was reported on Sunday,” stated an article published by Times of India on March 22, 2020. “Two video clips, which are being shared on social media, purportedly of a patient struggling in Wenlock Hospital. It is not from Wenlock Hospital. Moreover, Wenlock Hospital does not use blue beds,” stated the superintendent while rubbishing the videos.

Note: The number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in India is close to 700. This has caused the government to impose a complete restriction on movement apart from essential services. Globally, more than 4 lakh confirmed cases and over 21,000 deaths have been reported. There is a growing sense of panic among citizens, causing them to fall for a variety of online misinformation – misleading images and videos rousing fear or medical misinformation promoting pseudoscience and invalid treatments. While your intentions may be pure, misinformation, spread especially during a global pandemic, can take lives. We request our readers to practice caution and not forward unverified messages on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.