The spread of COVID-19 has sent ripples of fear across the world. Governments are scrambling to contain its spread, regular people are worried about their safety, and scientists are working round the clock to find a cure for the rapidly advancing disease. However, some are using the disease to leverage control or simply scare the people around them.
A video posted on YouTube by a user known as Fugu M shows a woman supposedly in a Thai Airways flight grounded at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, being restrained after coughing on a flight attendant to be let out of the plane. IBTimes SG could not independently verify the authenticity of the video and is awaiting fact-checkers' views.
Fugu M wrote in the description section that due to what they describe as "Bureaucratic, dysfunctional mess" at the airport, passengers were being made to wait for 6-10 hours owing to the screening for COVID-19.
According to Fugu M, a Chinese woman whose patience was exhausted lost her calm and coughed deliberately on a female flight attendant to force the crew to unlock the doors and let her out. A senior male member of the crew is said to have warned her to not cause a commotion, following which a scuffle arose. He is also said to have decided against his initial decision to "put her in cuffs" wrote Fugu M.
What does the video show?
In the video, a flight attendant in a beige jacket and a protective mask can be seen holding the woman in a headlock and trying his best to restrain the woman while the woman puts up a fight. He later pushes her on the seat in front of him and manages to subdue her. More members of the crew in maroon jackets rush in to lend a hand. One crew member can be heard repeatedly appealing to the woman to not put up a struggle.
"Stay down. Please!" he says repeatedly in English. Towards the end of the clip, three members of the crew seem to have managed to contain the woman's efforts to break free. During the course of the tussle, other attendants can be seen attempting to keep the calm among other passengers.
The video which has nearly 710,000 views so far, managed to elicit responses of various tones. Some pointed towards China's mandatory screening process. One comment read, "It's her own country's procedure of sterilization before allowing any flights to enter her country, it's not TG's own procedures. Waiting for hours is what all airlines 'to follow' not anyone's choice. Hope her government teach her a good lesson of this resistance."
A cheeky comment about the possible reportage of the incident by the Chinese media read, "I wonder how China's CCTV will report this China virus spreading for？Anyway, Muay Thai Good Job!" Some were dismissive and sought action against her. "Please ban her for life from taking Thai Airway and from entering Thailand," a comment said.
One commenter, however, questioned the video as it showed only the scuffle and not the entire episode. "Did no one notice that this was a deliberately edited video clip with no beginning or end that didn't indicate what was going on?! their sympathy towards the woman," they wrote.
COVID-19's global onslaught
According to the latest reports, nearly 115,000 confirmed cases have been reported across 114 countries so far. Over 4,000 casualties have been reported, with over 3,000 deaths recorded in China alone.
Italy became the second-worst affected country in the world after a massive incidence in the number of cases and deaths in less than 48 hours. As of now, over 9,000 cases and nearly 500 deaths have been confirmed.
(Disclaimer: IBT Singapore could not verify the authenticity of the video)