Fact Check: Romanian Authorities Are NOT Spraying COVID-19 At Night

Fact Check

  • by: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Romanian Authorities Are NOT Spraying COVID-19 At Night Pest Control

Are Romanian authorities spraying the COVID-19 virus or a biological warfare agent in cities at night? No, that's not true: A TikTok video claiming to show vehicles spraying substances to make people ill is in fact part of a planned pest control operation in Timisoara. It shows a vehicle spraying chemicals to combat mosquitos and other pests. Subsequent videos from other TikTok users make similar claims about spraying in the cities of Zalau and Alba Iulia.

The claim originated from a video (archived here) on TikTok on October 4, 2023, by user @matrixyurydan under the title (translated into English from Romanian by Lead Stories staff) "No submission, no fear of their fines and their games, go out into the streets." A caption (similarly translated):

Timisoara, 2 AM. They started spraying some substances at night right now, when COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Why?

The narrator in the video says (translated into English from Romanian by Lead Stories staff):

It's a biological weapon, brothers! It's meant to make us ill so we end up in hospitals. No one knows what this is. They're saying it's for mosquitoes, but no one knows. They're doing the same with chemtrails, with substances they disinfect public institutions and hospitals with. And here we are thinking it's a virus.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 09.34.12.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Sep 29 06:20:49 2023 UTC)

Claims about the cities of Zalau and Alba Iulia show a vehicle spraying substances at night, with a caption reading "COVID is coming."

The vehicle shown in the initial clip about Timisoara is used for spraying pest control chemicals into trees and vegetation where mosquitoes hide. Around the time the video was posted, Timisoara city hall announced that a new pest control operation would take place between September 19 and 30, 2023, with pest control substances approved by the Ministry of Health.

The same is true for Zalau and Alba Iulia: Both city halls announced pest control operations in the second half of September 2023 on their websites.

In addition, there is no evidence to link pest control operations and so-called chemtrails -- a conspiracy theory debunked by Lead Stories.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

Read more about or contact Ioana Burtea

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