Apart from sparking panic globally, the coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in incidents of racism. Taking full advantage of the volatile situation, the fake news industry is working overtime to spread hate and bigotry.
Recently, a video claiming that Chinese are not being allowed to shop in an Australian supermarket has gone viral on social media. The claim was debunked.
China, where the coronavirus pandemic began, has become a victim of many conspiracy theories. Even though Chinese authorities have claimed that the virus originated from a wet market in Wuhan, many have spawned the theory that the virus was man-made in a Wuhan laboratory.
What does the viral video show?
The video clip which has been shared a number of times on social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp, was recorded at the Melbourne-based Big W supermarket. The 42-second clip is captioned: "Chinese not allowed in supermarket. It has started in Australia."
The clip shows an intense argument between two men, one of whom is wearing a mask and holding two tin containers of baby formula. The lady, accompanying the man, is also seen holding two tins of the baby formula.
As the argument grows, the masked man removes his mask and lunges towards the other man and the two nearly come to blows. At that point, a supermarket official jumps in to separate them. The supervisor then takes away the containers from the couple and asks them to leave.
The truth behind the video
The incident did take place, but not in the same context as is being shared. According to a Daily Mail report, the argument was over the purchase of more than two tins of baby formula. Owing to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, with many people stocking up supplies, supermarkets have limited the purchase of certain essential commodities.
Big W and major supermarkets Coles and Woolworths reportedly enforce a two-tin baby formula limit due to the popularity of 'daigou shoppers' buying the product in bulk to sell for a profit online to China.
Confirming the nature of the incident at the supermarket, in a statement issued to Yahoo News Australia, a spokesperson for Big W said the store has had a two-tin limit in place for more than 12 months. "The customers had a disagreement and then were asked to leave our BIG W Lilydale store by a store team member and centre security, police involvement was not required."