The Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing were unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak, despite being close to epicentre in Wuhan.


False, Shanghai and Beijing were both affected by the outbreak.


This video makes a claim that the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing have been completely unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak, despite being close to Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) was first diagnosed. Shanghai is China’s financial capital, Beijing is the country’s political capital.

These claims are false, Shanghai and Beijing both initiated unprecedented lockdown measures in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, including closing public spaces, restricting vehicle movement and mandatory mask wearing for the public. As Chinese cities were the first to go through the lockdown procedures which have been followed by many other cities around the world, they have also been some of the first to begin easing restrictions and reopening factories. Therefore, it may appear that some of the Chinese cities where the lockdown has been eased have been unaffected and are carrying on as normal. 

The distances shown in this video between cities that have been affected by the outbreak are incorrect, the video is trying to imply that cities far away from Wuhan have been much worse affected than Chinese cities. The actual distance between the mentioned cities is below: 

Wuhan to Shanghai = 840km

Wuhan to Beijing = 1,153km

Wuhan to NY = 12,033km

Wuhan to Milan = 8,684km

As we have also written, the Chinese economy has been severely damaged by the coronavirus outbreak. The Chinese stock market was initially badly affected by the outbreak at the beginning of 2020, suffering some of its worst ever falls. Like many markets around the world, it has recovered some of its losses as the lockdown measures appear to have slowed the spread of the virus.

The video goes on to claim that no political or military leaders in China have caught the virus, despite many prominent leaders from Western countries contracting the COVID-19 illness. Whilst no prominent Chinese figures have been reported to have contracted the virus, there is government control of the press in China by the Communist Party of China, who would have to approve messages such as this. There is also concern over the figures released by the Chinese authorities on fatalities from COVID-19, with suggestions that some of the data is being suppressed either accidentally or deliberately. According to the WHO, there have been 4,642 officially reported deaths in China.

The video finally claims that China has used the coronavirus to achieve global economic supremacy, and perhaps they have a vaccine for the illness which they are withholding. There is no basis for these claims, scientists around the world are attempting to produce a vaccine in record time, but it may still take at least a year.


WHO: COVID-19 dashboard A on coronavirus

FT: Chinese economy suffers record blow from coronavirus

BBC: China’s virus-hit economy shrinks for the first time in decades

Telegraph: Beijing reintroduces coronavirus restricts as China tries to get back to work

Market Insider: Chinese stocks crash 9 percent for worst loss in years

South China Morning Post: Beijing and Shanghai impose new controls on residents as China battles to contain coronavirus

BBC: Coronavirus vaccine: when will we have one?

Origins of Claim


10th April 2020


“Something is fishy!!

Wuhan to Shanghai = 839km

Wuhan to Beijing = 1,152km

Wuhan to Milan = 15,000km

Wuhan to NY = 15,000km

The Coronavirus started in Wuhan yet there is no effect of Coronavirus in nearby Beijing or Shanghai.”