Updated: Apr 9, 2020
April 7, 2020
If you plan for panic buying before the assumed phase-III of lockdown attributed to WHO starts, be sure that you fall prey of infodemics!
The message says that the WHO has divided the lockdown period into four stages and the Indian government is also following the same.
The Press Information Bureau of India (PIB), through their fake news detection initiative #PIBFactCheck, put out a tweet on Monday saying the WHO circular about the lockdown schedule was fake.
The virality of this message has coincided with the 21-days lockdown period announced by PM Narendra Modi earlier that is about to end on April 14. So, keeping in view the increasing cases of novel coronavirus and number of deaths in the country, people are anxious to know the next steps by the government to fight this pandemic.
But unfortunately, many of these people are influenced by the fake viral message stating that the third phase of the lockdown starts from April 20 for 28 days and therefore have already planned to stock pile the essential commodities leading to a panic situation.
Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba had recently said that as of now, there is no plan of extending the lockdown. However, it is difficult to say what further steps the government will take.
As per the website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are 4,281 confirmed cases including 111 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,851 and 319 have recovered as on April 6, 2020 at 6 pm.
To flatten this increasing curve, there arose questions on whether the national lockdown will be extended beyond April 14. In a video conference meeting with his cabinet ministers on Monday, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi said people must be prepared for the long haul and urged ministers at a cabinet meeting to come up with a "graded plan", which was seen to indicate a gradual rollback.
Reacting to the question on the extension of lockdown, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar after the meeting said, “We are monitoring the world situation every minute. A decision will be taken in the national interest. A decision in this regard will be declared at the right time”.
But at present, it has also become more serious to flatten the curve of rising infodemics to decrease the fear and anxiety among the people raised by such fake message of extension of lockdown declared by WHO. To verify the claim, India Today’s Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) reached out to a representative of WHO in India, who clarified that the message is false and the organization has not released any such protocol for lockdown periods.
No country in the world is following the lockdown pattern as seen in the viral message. Each country has its own rules and regulations for lockdown. India, China, France, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, and the UK have implemented the world's largest and most restrictive mass quarantines so far.
FAKE: According to a message attributed to WHO on protocols and procedures of lockdown – in the first step, a one-day lockdown will be observed, followed by a 21-day lockdown in phase 2. This will be followed by a relaxation period of five days. After five days, the stage 3 of the lockdown will be enforced, which will last for 28 days. This again will be followed by a relaxation period of five days. The final lockdown will be of 15 days.
FACT: WHO South-East Asia on April 5 tweeted – “Messages being circulated on social media as WHO protocol for lockdown are baseless and FAKE. WHO does NOT have any protocols for lockdowns. @MoHFW_INDIA @PIB_India @UNinIndia”.
#CheckTheFake is a movement against #Infodemic in this crisis, initiated by Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust #ARMT (www.armt.in) in collaboration with The Assam Tribune and Northeast Now (www.nenow.in) to create awareness on #fakenews on #Coronavirus and improve media literacy through #Cartoons. ARMT Research