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Fact check: The virus that causes COVID-19 has been isolated and studied around the world

A video being shared on social media in which an unidentified man shouts at a member of the Irish police force, An Garda Síochána, contains false information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

At one point in the video, the man, whose car had been stopped at a checkpoint in Ireland, tells the Garda: “Covid is imaginary, it hasn’t been proven by science, and it hasn’t been isolated.” (here timestamp 1.01)

Reuters has already debunked these claims (here and here and here).

The virus that causes COVID-19 has been proven to exist independently in different countries(Examples: China here, South Korea here, Canada here, and Italy here) and the genetic sequences for different strains of the virus isolated in different countries are readily available online (for example: China here, Turkey here and the UK here).

When the man was then asked by the Garda whether he was within a five-kilometre radius of his residence, as Irish guidelines have been recommending, he responded: “I can go 100 kilometres if I like ‘cause I have constitutional, inalienable rights, given to me by God himself that nobody can take away from me.” He goes on to threaten to take a case to the high court over infringement of his “basic human rights” (Timestamp 1.15 here).

Challenges against legislation and regulations used to enforce COVID-19 restrictions have already been considered by the Irish High Court. The court’s published judgement from a case in May 2020 (here) specifically refers to travel restrictions (paragraph 16) and did not find that they violated the Constitution of Ireland, The European Convention on Human Rights, or the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (paragraphs 52 and 59 here).

A relevant portion of the summary from Mr Justice Meenan’s judgment reads: “The legislation enacted to address the health and economic issues that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly restrict people’s constitutional rights. However, the constitutional rights involved are not absolute, so for an arguable case to be made, the applicants must depose such facts on affidavit which, if proven, would establish that such restrictions are disproportionate. No such facts were deposed.”

VERDICT

False. The existence of COVID-19 has been proven, independently, in different countries and the genome of the virus that causes COVID-19 has also been sequenced, independently, in various countries as well. Challenges against travel restrictions during the pandemic have been taken to the Irish High Court, which did not find that they breached the Irish constitution or European human rights legislation.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here . 

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