A convoy of army trucks was not traveling down a street in Italy to take away the bodies of hundreds of people who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic, contrary to what a Facebook page suggests of a photo it published recently. The vehicles belong instead to the French Army and were passing through a Paris suburb.
Blessed Be Philippines posted March 22 the photo with a warning:
This is not an army parade. These are dead bodies of COVID 19 victims. [Italian flag] 796 dead bodies in italy that too in a single day consisting of more than 80 trucks. So PLEASE.... PEOPLE IN THE PHILIPPINES Manatili sa loob ng bahay at magdasal (Stay home and pray)
The exact location of the six trucks in the photo is the intersection of Avenue Anatole France and Rue de Paris in Charenton-le-Pont, southeast of Paris.
The signage and make of the trucks give away the fabricated claim.
When magnified, the text on the electronic board partly reads “Charenton-le-Pont Informations.”
“Pharmacie” (the store sign) and “vehicule hybride” (the text on the bus) are French words for pharmacy and hybrid vehicle. The Italian words for these are farmacia and veicolo ibrido.
Pharmacie du Marche is a chain of drugstores in France.
A reverse image search shows the six-by-six trucks are the GBC 180 all-terrain tactical vehicles manufactured by Renault Trucks, a French commercial truck and military vehicle manufacturer, for the French Army.
The Italian Army recently did field trucks in Bergamo, the city worst hit by the virus, to move coffins from its cemetery to nearby provinces. Available photos show they are mostly four-by-four ACTL logistic tactical trucks manufactured by Industrial Vehicles Corp. (IVECO), an Italian commercial and military vehicle maker based in Turin.
Italy, Europe’s epicenter of the virus, announced 627 more deaths on March 21 in what has become a record-high single-day death toll from coronavirus. Its 4,032 death toll has surpassed China’s. Italy has a total of 47,021 confirmed cases.
In France, different photos of military trucks in Charenton went viral on social media after French President Emmanuel Macron ordered March 16 a 15-day lockdown as Europe became the epicenter of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. France had recorded 5,380 infections and 127 deaths at the time.
Netizens who shared the photos alleged the French Army had been mobilized to contain residents.
A France 24 fact check zeroed in on the photo of two military vehicles being transported by a truck on the highway in Charenton, saying the vehicles were not deployed for the outbreak for were returning to based. The photo is different from the one shared by Blessed Be Philippines.
France’s Ministry of Armed Forces told France 24:
These are two vehicles belonging to the 121st regiment of the Monthléry train (Essonne), who were returning from a driving course on sand organized in Biscarosse (Landes).
Blessed Be Philppines’ post generated 782 likes and 783 shares within the first hour it was posted. The page was created in 2016 by an “Ilokano, 35, Born in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan Environmentalist, Pharmacist, Researcher” and has 171,273 followers. It was first called Jose Panganiban CN Duterte Supporters and has changed its name five times.
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Blessed Be Philippines. (2020, March 22). This is not an army parade. These are dead bodies of COVID 19 victims… [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/futurepinoy/photos/a.691507854355629/1414956078677466/?type=3&theater
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No, these army trucks are not deployed because of the coronavirus (they return to their base). (2020, March 17). Retrieved from https://www.fr24news.com/u/2020/03/no these-army-trucks-are-not-deployed-because-of-the-coronavirus-they-return-to-their base.html
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