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Video catches moment Shanghai airport erupts into chaos after hazmat-wearing staff force 'thousands' of people into basement for forced COVID-19 testing

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Image source: Twitter video screenshot

Chaos appeared to erupt at an airport in Shanghai, China, Sunday night after the hazmat-wearing staff forced what the Daily Mail reported was ultimately "thousands" of people into the facility's basement for COVID-19 testing.

The move came after two cargo workers reportedly tested positive for coronavirus.

What are the details?

Video of the incident shows the staff, wearing hazmat suits, pushing against a huge crowd of people inside Shanghai Pudong International Airport.

The outlet reported that thousands in the crowd were "being forced into [a] basement area inside Shanghai's international airport" for testing after at least one worker tested positive for the deadly virus.

Some members of the group reportedly tried in vain to escape in order to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine following the possible exposure, the outlet reported.

Citing the Xinhua news agency, the Daily Mail noted that "[m]ore than 17,700 had been swabbed by Monday morning in the drive to test airport cargo staff."

According to CNN, photos and videos circulating across Chinese social media platforms show "hundreds of people packed closely together inside the garage — the opposite of social distancing — with a line of people in hazmat suits trying to hold back crowds pushing forward."

CNN reported that the chaos seemed to abate by midnight.


The New York Post reported that more than 17,700 employees "stationed in the cargo-handling terminals underwent testing for the virus," citing Zhou Junlong, who is vice president of the Shanghai Airport Authority.

Zhou added that none of the 11,544 people whose tests were returned have tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of this reporting.

The Post noted that the massive push for testing came following news that two cargo handlers, who had cleaned a container that had just arrived from North America, had tested positive for the virus.

Reuters reported that Sun Xiaodong, an official at Shanghai's disease control center, said the strain that infected the two unnamed cargo handlers was "similar to that from North America," suggesting it could have originated in North America.

"Research at home and abroad has shown coronavirus could live in enclosed, damp environments," Sun said during a recent news conference.

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