A viral message on WhatsApp asking people to stay indoors as the government is going to spray medicine to kill 'coronavirus' is fake. The message has been doing the rounds in Mumbai and Bangalore and asks residents to stay indoors between 10pm to 5am.
BOOM first received the message from several readers in Mumbai, with the message not mentioning any city.
The fake message then went viral in Bangalore to read that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP)- the civic body in the city is going to spray the medicine. The message viral in Bangalore reads, "Hello, every one in Bangalore kindly request you not to come out of your house after 10 pm tonight till tomorrow 5 am.... As their will be spraying medicine in the air in order to kill the COVID-19!. Share this information to all your friends,relatives and your families only in Bangalore...Thank you!"
BOOM ran a search on Facebook for the words in the message and found that it was viral in most states as specific to that including Chandigarh, Kolkata, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Kashmir.
BOOM checked health and government websites of most cities and states but did not find any such circular issued by the government. The official website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also had no such circular or announcment.
The same was for official Twitter handles of state health ministries and Municipalities- which had no such order or tweet about such a spraying or asking people to not step out during such a time.
BOOM also reached out to an official in Mumbai's Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to verify the same. A senior officer not willing to be named said, "This is a fake message. Nobody is spraying anything in the air or anywhere. This is someone's attempt to create panic,"he said. He added, "While it is good if people stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, such a message is false and fake,"he said.
Media outlet The News Minute reached out to BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar who refuted such a message. The Commissioner told TNM, "I have seen this forward, and it is fake news. Some Bengalureans are sending this message to each other and creating panic."
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