Alarming videos surface showing apparent forced quarantine in China

As authorities battle to contain the spread of coronavirus, a number of videos have surfaced online appearing to show people being forcibly taken into quarantine in China.

Almost 60,000 cases of the virus - which has been officially named COVID-19 - have been confirmed in China, with the death toll worldwide at 1370. All but three of the fatalities occurred in mainland China.

In one alarming video circulating online, a woman can be seen screaming as she is carried off in a large metal box on the back of a pickup truck.

The footage shows medical officers clad in hazmat suits approaching a couple on the street and forcing them into the cage-like box. The woman can be heard screaming as the door to the box is closed.

Chinese state media outlet Global Times confirmed the video was real, but said the woman was "safe and sound" and being quarantined in her boyfriend's house in Suzhou, in Jiangsu Province in the east of China. 

The newspaper, which is closely aligned with the government, said it interviewed a community worker called Ms You who claimed the woman had agreed to be quarantined. As for the metal box, according to the community worker there were no suitable vehicles available at the time and so a pickup truck was borrowed from the district's environmental department and the metal box added to the back to protect the couple from rain. 

"Community workers did not coerce the woman or forcefully drag her into the truck, and she was accompanied and comforted by her boyfriend," Global Times reported You as saying.

You said the woman was allowed to go into home-quarantine after being checked at a health point. 

The incident is one of numerous cases appearing to show people forcibly being taken into quarantine in China. 

In another video, verified by the Associated Press, workers in hazmat suits were seen forcibly removing people from an apartment in the city of Kunshan, in Jiangsu.

The occupants can be seen putting up a fight, before eventually being carried away.

According to the Associated Press, the people had refused to self-quarantine.

China has been heavily criticised for its handling of the crisis.

The doctor who first raised the alarm about the virus, Li Wenliang, was initially silenced by authorities when he shared his concerns online with his medical school classmates. 

Dr Li subsequently contracted the virus himself and died.

In the early stages of the outbreak, Chinese authorities issued a statement saying the disease was "preventable and controllable", however the virus continues to spread.

Despite accusations China's leaders tried to cover up the true extent of the crisis, the World Health Organisation has praised the country for its "transparency".

Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi told Newshub her Government has "taken a strong and responsible approach" to containing the disease.

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