On Sunday, India went into a state of near-lock-down as citizens observed the Janata Curfew. The initiative put forward by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Modi had also asked people to come out onto their balconies and doorways at 5 pm on March 22 and clap in appreciation of the efforts being put in by hospital staff, airport authrities and other essential service officials.
Many on social media however were quick to attach 'scientific' significance to the clapping -- eventually forcing the PIB to fact check and debunk the concept.
"At that time Moon is passing to a new 'nakshatra' called Revati. The playing of bells and clapping: The cumulative vibration will encourage blood circulation in the body.,,," one Twitter user had claimed.
This was the reason why temples had huge bells, the user had explained. With 22 March being Amavasya, darkest day in a month, the Twitter post added, "all virus, bacteria and evil forces have maximum potential and power".
"5 PM- clapping, shankh nada etc by 130 crore people at the same time will create so much vibrations that virus will lose all potency. Must for everyone," the user had said.
"How brilliantly Modiji is using energy medicine to diminish Coronavirus," exclaimed another individual whose Instagram profile proclaimed that she was a wellness coach. She added that clapping and sending out gratitude were of interest as they had "a science behind it".
"Firstly clapping,the energy and vibrations created by this action kills a lot of virus in and around our vicinity,temples have bells for not only disciplines to focus on prayers but also to clean the environment as cleanliness is one of the most important rules of spirituality and Religion," she explained.
Gratitude, her Instagram post added, was "the most beautiful energy of them all".
"So if 130 crore Indians TOGETHER clapping and send out this energy the ripple effect of it will try and kill the coronavirus in the air but Multiple such virus, so please don’t take it lightly, do participate for your COUNTRY, our Mother Earth needs us now.... JAI HIND" she had said.
There are many others who have made similar claims. One Twitter user even urged US Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders to learn from India and clap. And while we're not dismissing the powers of goodwill and positive energy and the fact that vibrations can be created by clapping, it is a far stretch to assume that the virus will promptly keel over at 5 pm.
While many on the Internet had countered and attempted to debunk these claims, they had continued to circulate in the last couple of days. The Press Information Bureau's fact checking unit was forced to provide a clarification for the same on Sunday as rumours predicting the impending demise of the coronavirus continued to persist.
"NO ! The vibration generated by clapping together will NOT destroy #Coronavirus infection," PIB wrote on Twitter.
"The JantaCurfew clapping initiative at 5pm is to express gratitude towards the Emergency staff working selflessly to counter coronavirus in India," the post added, attaching a screenshot from one such claim.
The PIB Twitter post which has since been shared and liked several hundred times has also lent credence to those who had been protesting against the claim.
"Finally PIB factcheck about this which I can forward to all my whatsapp contacts without being judged as Leftist supporter," wrote one person it the comments section.
Take a look at what others on the Internet have to say:
324 people in the country have so far tested positive for the virus. Of these, 296 are active coronavirus cases while 23 people have been 'cured'. Five people who had tested positive earlier have passed away.