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- Police have said the scene in this video is unrelated to COVID-19.
- We found no evidence to corroborate the claim that it shows a child being ripped from their parents because they tested positive for COVID-19.
- Children have been separated from their parents in Australian hospitals, but the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported in August that this was because their parents were too sick to care for them. Most children are treated for COVID-19 at home, according to the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.
"Australia," begins the description of a video posted on Facebook on Aug. 19 and shared widely in the weeks since. "Reports of children testing positive for Covid are now being separated from their parents. Why are they separating children at no risk of serious illness from parents? Tyranny is winning and we can’t let it."
The video shows a man embracing a child surrounded by police officers and two women wearing personal protective equipment. As one of the women moves to pull the child away, the man resists. The child can be heard yelling as they’re separated, and the officers restrain the man.
It’s a painful scene. But as this post and others like it gained traction, police in the Australian state of Victoria said it was being mischaracterized.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
"Victoria Police can confirm this is inaccurate," the department tweeted on Aug. 20. "This vision is in no way related to COVID/vaccinations or testing. For the privacy of those involved, we will not be providing any further details."
News.com.au, an Australian news site owned by News Corp Australia, reported at the time that the video appeared to show "a man and his young child being approached by nurses inside Werribee Police Station in Melbourne," the capital of Victoria.
Victoria Police told news.com.au that the video showed "a family incident" unrelated to COVID-19, according to the site, and that the nurses were there for another, undisclosed matter.
We reached out to Australia’s health department about the video but did not immediately hear back.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation published a story on Aug. 17 with this headline: "COVID-19 positive children ‘very frightened’ and separated from parents at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital."
But the article doesn’t describe anything like the scene in the video that’s gone viral online. Rather, it says, the children in the hospital’s COVID ward have to be admitted "because their parents are too sick to care for them." Most children with COVID-19 are treated at home, the story says.
We couldn’t find any evidence to corroborate the claim that the video in social media posts showed a child being ripped from their parents because they tested positive for COVID-19.
We rate this post False.
Facebook post, Aug. 19, 2021
Victoria Police tweet, Aug. 20, 2021
News.com.au, Victoria Police reject claims by Kevin Pietersen that COVID positive kids are being ripped away from parents, Aug. 21, 2021
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