Almost every news channel on Sunday, August 9, flashed as Breaking News that Home Minister Amit Shah has tested negative for COVID-19. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manoj Tiwari was cited as the source of the apparent major development as he had put out a tweet stating Amit Shah has recovered from the fatal disease.
"Home Minister Amit Shah's COVID-19 report has come out negative," Tiwari had written in a now-deleted tweet. As the update had come from an eminent member of the BJP, it was believed by everyone and social media got flooded with congratulatory messages for the 55-year-old politician.
Even Union Minister Jitendra Singh fell for the information as he took to Twitter to say that he is relieved to learn about Amit Shah's recovery and is eager for him to regain his form.
"Relieved to hear that Home Minister Shri Amit Shah has tested negative for COVID-19. Looking forward to seeing him back in form, serving the nation with his insurmountable energy and commitment, guiding his juniors with his insightful wisdom and foresight," Singh wrote but took down the tweet minutes later.
Fact-Checking the claim
As the purported claim of Amit Shah's COVID-19 recovery spread like wildfire, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) confirmed that no fresh coronavirus test has been conducted on the Home Minister yet. An MHA official asserted that only an official statement should be trusted regarding Amit Shah's health updates.
"Nothing other than the official health bulletin released either by the treating hospital, MHA or his own Twitter feed should be referred to," the official said.
Therefore, the clarification by the MHA refutes Tiwari's announcement which he eventually removed from Twitter.
It was on August 2 that Amit Shah tweeted to inform that he has contracted the dreaded infection and was subsequently admitted to Medanta Hospital in Gurugram. "After showing initial symptoms, I underwent a test for coronavirus and the report came out positive. My health is fine but I am being admitted to the hospital on the advice of doctors," he had posted.
So far, several politicians including Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and Congress MP Karti Chidambaram have tested positive for COVID-19.