As the vaccine rollout is underway in India, the COVID-19 cases are spiking once again in the country. Some cities have announced partial lockdown while others have taken necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus. But the spread of fake news continues to remain one of the biggest challenges amid the pandemic. One viral message has been making the rounds on the internet, social media and in WhatsApp groups claiming nearly two dozen dos and don'ts on resuming life after the lockdown.
The viral photo has listed 21 dos and don'ts attributed to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi. All the pointers appear to be in view of people's interest, which advices them against travel, eating outside, wearing face masks, but there are some points that do not sound right.
A lot of people are sharing this letter which appears to be prescribed by ICMR, which adds a sense of seriousness and authenticity. Take a look at the 21 dos and don't in the viral forward:
- Postpone travel abroad for 2 years.
- Do not eat outside food for 1 year.
- Do not go to unnecessary marriage or other similar ceremony.
- Do not take unnecessary travel trips.
- Do not go to a crowded place for at least 1 year.
- Completely follow social distancing norms.
- Stay away from a person who has cough.
- Keep the face mask on.
- Be very careful in the current one week.
- Do not let the any mess around you.
- Prefer vegetarian food.
- Do not go to the Cinema, Mall, Crowded Market for 6 Months now. If possible, Park, Party, etc. should also be avoided.
- Increase immunity.
- Be very careful while at Barber shop or at beauty Salon parlour.
- Avoid Unnecessary Meetings, Always keep in mind Social Distancing.
- The threat of CORONA is not going to end soon.
- Don't wear belt, rings, wrist watch, when you go out. Watch is not required. Your mobile has got time.
- No hand kerchief. Take sanitiser & tissue if required.
- Don't bring the shoes into your house. Leave them outside.
- Clean your hands & legs when you come home from outside.
- When you feel you have come nearer to a suspected patient take a thorough bath.
Lockdown or no lockdown next 6 months to 12 months follow these precautions. Share this with all your family & friends," the post concludes.
International Business Times noticed the viral trend and reviewed the post in circulation. Immediately, we noticed several red flags. Although it is possible for someone to recreate ICMR advisories with their own design, it surely didn't look like the real deal. The contents of the viral message made it certain that the viral message is indeed fake.
Besides a few valid points like wearing face masks, avoiding unnecessary travel, following social distancing, and personal hygiene, everything else looks made-up. Certain points like avoid wearing a belt, a wristwatch is absolutely ridiculous and has no scientific explanation. Moreover, avoiding traveling abroad for 2 years or eating outside for 1 year is a stretch and no such advisory has been issued to the public by the ICMR. Also, the language, grammatical errors in the message are hard to ignore.
Finally, the ICMR's official website does not have any such notification and the latest one is about Covaxin phase 3 trial. This is also not the first time this viral message has been shared extensively. The last time the same post was in circulation, Dr Rajani Kant, director, ICMR Regional Medical Research Centre, Gorakhpur and head of Research Management, Policy Planning & Coordination at ICMR headquarters, New Delhi said that "The WhatsApp message is fake news. All updates by ICMR are communicated in the form of a press release on our website under the media section," Alt News reported.
Based on these facts, International Business Times has arrived at the conclusion that viral ICMR message is fake.