Is This Video From a Saudi Arabia Mall After the Lifting of Lockdown Restrictions?

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The video (see below) has been shared multiple times across social media platforms with claims that it is from a Saudi Arabia mall after the ease of lockdown restrictions:

See similar claims as replicated on Facebook and YouTube. The same is also being shared on WhatsApp.

Background

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arabian Gulf country, recorded its first COVID-19 case on March 2. This was followed by swift public health responses to curb the spread of the virus, which saw the holding of daily prayers inside mosques as well as pilgrimages to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina come to a halt. International flights were also suspended, most major cities placed under 24-hour lockdown and curfews put in place.

However, some of the restrictions were lifted late last month ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. According to reports, the country recorded about 15,000 cases since the holy month began.

The numbers have since spiked and currently stand at 62,545 confirmed cases, 339 deaths and 33,478 recoveries (check our COVID-19 tracker for updated figures), making Saudi Arabia the Gulf countries’ new COVID-19 hotspot. This has led to enforcement of a nationwide 24-hour curfew which will continue during the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Verification

A search for the keywords “Saudi Arabia Shopping Mall chaos” coupled with frame-by-frame analysis of the video yields several results dating back to December 2019.

On Twitter, this tweet shows the video on a post from 3rd December 2019:

The caption, which is in Arabic, as translated by Google reads:

This is what happened yesterday when a store in Al-Shawqiyya announced discounts for products of 5 riyals, which required the presence of teams from security patrols.

Riyal is the basic monetary unit/currency of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The video is also available on Facebook with the same caption on a post whose timestamp is 12:06 Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

The same video appears on YouTube, dated December 4, 2019:

The caption, which is also in Arabic translates to:

Opening a shop for household utensils in Mecca, everything is for 5 riyals

Verdict

Though we’re unable to verify the context of the video being shared online, it is an old one and has no relationship with the ongoing pandemic, making the claims FALSE.

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Peris Gachahi

Peris Gachahi is a reporter at Africa Uncensored.She is passionate about human interest stories told through in-depth documentaries, data stories and digital storytelling.