Centre asks social platforms to take down 'Indian COVID-19 variant' posts
Photo Credit: PTI

As there have been various variants of the novel coronavirus emerging fromvarious countries, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has written to all social media platforms to remove content that “names, refers to, or implies that there is an ‘Indian variant’ of COVID-19.

In a letter, the ministry wrote, "It has come to our knowledge that a false statement is being circulated online which implies that an ‘Indian variant’ of coronavirus is spreading across the countries. This is completely FALSE. There is no such variant of Covid-19 scientifically cited as such by the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO has not associated the term “Indian Variant” with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its reports."

A senior Indian government source had told Reuters that the notice was issued to send a message “loud and clear” that such mentions of “Indian variant” spread miscommunication and hurt the country’s image.

The message has been spreading across as India has witnessed a sudden surge in covid cases which has led to deaths of many too. The spurt of the virus has been linked to the B.1.617 variant which was said to be generated in India.

On May 12, the Union Health Ministry too had clarified that the WHO has not used the word "Indian" for this strain in its document.

The Ministry had dismissed the "without any basis and unfounded" media reports that have used the term "Indian variant" for the B.1.617 mutant strain, which the WHO recently said was a "variant of global concern".

"Several media reports have covered the news of World Health Organisation (WHO) classifying B.1.617 as variant of global concern. Some of these reports have termed the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus as an “Indian Variant”. These media reports are without any basis, and unfounded," the Union Health Ministry said.

The daily rise in coronavirus cases in India remained below the 3 lakh mark for the sixth consecutive day, with 2.57 lakh new cases recorded in a single day, the Union health ministry said on Saturday.

With the fresh cases, India's tally of COVID-19 cases climbed to 2,62,89,290. The death toll due to the disease rose to 2,95,525 with 4,194 fresh fatalities, the ministry data updated at 8 am showed.

The active cases further reduced to 29,23,400 comprising 11.12 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate improved to 87.76 per cent.

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Free Press Journal