One of the biggest battles we are facing in the event of coronavirus outbreak is having to deal with misinformation. Rumours spread like wildfire, especially when it is something on a serious topic such as coronavirus. From fake remedies to cure the deadly disease to rumours about confirmed cases, everyone must practice caution before spreading any information blindly.
In the latest turn of events, Bengaluru's Acharya Institute became a victim of such misinformation widespread. International Business Times, India, was tipped off about a viral WhatsApp forward that claimed a girl from Acharya Institute had been infected with coronavirus and preliminary tests came positive. The message in circulation also claims that the girl had travelled using public transport at the Majestic bus stop. We've included the viral WhatsApp message below:
Preliminary test of the girl has been confirmed. But the final test report will come tomorrow. Confirm news from Acharya Institute Bangalore. Be careful guys. It isn't a fake information. Unfortunately a girl (italy) from acharya college - pharmacy got infected with corona virus. The tests were positive. She came through public transport majestic bus stand. People please avoid public contact and physical contact. Wear masks and clean your things with hydrogen peroxide n turmeric."
First things first, the source of the message could not be verified and the way the message has been articulated raises doubts on its authenticity. But we could not simply dismiss the message based on its structure or grammar. In order to confirm the authenticity of the message, which involved Acharya Institute in Bengaluru, we reached out to the college.
Uma from the college's admissions department confirmed that there had been no such reports and that the WhatsApp forward in circulation is fake. We tried reaching out to the principal of the college and Dr. Prakash, Bengaluru Urban's health officer, but there was no response from either officials as of this writing. This article will be duly updated with their responses.