COVID-19 FACT CHECK

Is Wuhan exporting clothes and beddings to Africa?

China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan on January 23.

In Summary

• The first case of the outbreak was reported in Wuhan in China in December 2019 before WHO declared the disease a pandemic on March 11.

• As of 24 March, more than 395,807 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in more than 196 countries and territories, resulting in more than 17,235 deaths and  103,748 recoveries.

Screen shot of the Twitter post
Screen shot of the Twitter post

The mention of the word Wuhan easily brings the current coronavirus pandemic in mind.

Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province, is a commercial centre divided by the Yangtze and Han rivers. 

It is here that the outbreak was first identified in December 2019 before it was  recognised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020.

As at March 24, more than 395,807 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in more than 196 countries and territories, resulting in more than 17,235 deaths and  103,748 recoveries.

On Tuesday a twitter user made a claim that China authorities had allowed Wuhan to import used clothes and beddings to Africa,

Is this true?

The Star's fact-check desk moved in to establish the truth,

The claim

Clothes, beddings etc from Wuhan China are set to flood the second-hand market's in Africa

 

The twitter user by the name Masibili made the claim that second-hand clothes and beddings from Wuhan were set to flood the markets in Africa.

Though he did not name any specific country, Masibili said the move was a clear indication that the coronavirus ain't disappearing any time soon

FINDINGS

Coronavirus is a pandemic disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

Well known as Covid-19, the virus is typically spread from one person to another via respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing.

It primarily spreads when people are in close contact but may also spread when one touches a contaminated surface and then one's face.

The World Health Organisation says the disease is most contagious when people are symptomatic, although spread may be possible before symptoms appear.

The time between exposure and symptoms onset is typically around five days but may range from two to fourteen days.

While common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

There is currently no vaccine for the disease but recommended preventive measures include handwashing, covering mouth when coughing, social distancing and self-isolation among others.

We searched for the image used on Masibili's post and established that the photo was published on Chinese Website in Jan 2015.

The image used on Masibili's post.
The image used on Masibili's post.
Image: COURTESY

It was later reshared 33 times within China Mainland, Taiwan 14 times and South Korea 2 times.

Other areas that the photo has been shared include the USA, Thailand, Algeria, Cameroon and Spain with a total of 83 results.

We called the Chinese Embassy to confirm this claim and the spokesperson Ms Xueqing Huang dismissed it as mere propaganda.

Huang said Wuhan has been on a total lock down and all travel was banned until April 8.

VERDICT: FALSE

The Star's fact-check terms this post as false since there is no airline that is operating outside Wuhan.

Chinese authorities said Tuesday they will end a two-month lock down of most of coronavirus-hit Hubei province at midnight, as domestic cases of what has become a global pandemic subsides.

China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan beginning January 23 in a surprise middle-of-the-night announcement and expanded that to most of the province in the consecutive days.

Trains and flights were cancelled and checkpoints set up on roads into the central province.

The outbreak has since been brought under control, and Hubei has seen almost no new infections for more than a week.


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