The festival of colours, Holi, is round the corner and people across India and the world are preparing to celebrate it. However, a viral post on social media has raised health concerns as it claims that a substance used in making Holi colours is imported from China's 'Hunei', so-called the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The post states that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of India (GoI) have issued an advisory asking people not to use Chinese Holi colours.
Holi is a festival of colours and celebrated by millions of people, moreover, the colours used in India come from China as well. So, it became necessary to check whether WHO or GoI has issued any such warning. Our team quickly swung into action and started investigating the claim.
What was the claim?
The viral post says that Holi colours and other items are imported from China's Hunei province where Coronavirus is wreaking havoc. The post urged people not to use Chinese colours and other items. The advisory was issued in the name of WHO and the Government of India.
At the very first look, advisory looked like a photoshop version. There were multiple grammatical and syntax errors in the viral image. The name of the WHO was written in the small letters and there were many other spelling errors in the Hindi text of the advisory. Moreover, the name of the Chinese city Hubei, from where the Coronavirus outbreak actually started was also written as Hunei.
Hunei is a district in Taiwan while Hubei is the Chinese province which is the epicentre of the Noval Coronavirus, which has killed over 2800 people and infected more than 83,000 across the world.
As we further crosschecked so we looked into the WHO advisories issued until February 28, 2020, and found no such advisory. Neither Indian Health Ministry has issued any such advisory on its website.
We also looked up Google to check if there has been any news regarding the WHO warning against buying Holi colours from China and found nothing. However, a leading fact-check website had a quote from a WHO official who denied issuing the advisory.
Thus, the viral post claiming that WHO and the Government of India have asked people not buy Chinese Holi colours and other items in view of Coronavirus threat is fake.