This shocking footage being widely shared in Asia reportedly shows used surgical masks being put back into fresh packaging to be resold as new.
Masks have been in short supply since the COVID-19 outbreak, with unscrupulous traders doing everything from creating fake masks using toilet paper through to scams like this one where allegedly recycled masks are being put back on the market.
The footage, according to local media, shows an illegal mask recycling plant somewhere in Indonesia with the footage uploaded on a Twitter account where it went viral. There is huge demand with prices for the masks increasing tenfold since the virus outbreak.
The footage was reportedly shot on 19th February and a man commenting says that the masks are to be sent to a buyer called Mariana. People who shared the images were shocked by the fact that those repackaging the masks had scattered them all over the floor in order to select individual masks for repackaging.
At the same time a person in the room can be seen walking barefoot over the masks with no attempt to do so under hygienic conditions, although hygiene is probably of little use if they were indeed used masks taken from a local hospital as claimed.
The man claimed the masks were top-quality three layer surgical masks from the Solida brand, which caused Maesindo Indonesia, the company that produces Solida, to publish images of the hygienic conditions under which their own surgical masks are produced in stark contrast to the footage going viral online.
There was no official comment from authorities on what action they were taking over the video.
Despite the widespread use of masks, many medics suggest that they are not effective in stopping the spread of the virus, and instead urge people to wash their hands frequently and discard any tissues used when sneezing or coughing.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.