The novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a deadly infectious disease caused by a new virus. This virus affects the respiratory system and symptoms include cough, fever, and in the worst case, it may also cause difficulty in breathing. The virus actually spreads through primary contact with the infected person, and also spreads when a person touches an infected place then touches his eyes, nose or mouth.
This can be avoided by frequently washing your hands with soap or any rubbing alcoholic solution (with physicians advise) and also by avoiding close contact with the infected person at least 1 meter to 3 feet distance in particular. This would be better if the infected person or those with the early symptoms starts to social distance themselves. Staying home and self-isolating oneself from the rest of the household members could help to prevent the spreading of the virus to others.
Once this COVID-19 is on board there has been various information that is intended to be misleading or distracting. Social Media is an excellent platform to spread it effectively. Smartphones and the internet are widespread across the world and it’s a primary source to spread information. People around the world are instant in adapting to this revolution in technology unaware of the novelty of the information. The information might not always be red herring but it’s actually not true in many cases. Even though all the social media platform is taking necessary steps to fight against this false and misleading information it’s still effective around. WhatsApp has announced two initiatives to fight specifically against fake news and other misleading information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also announced a coronavirus information hub in partnership with WHO, UNICEF, and UNDP to offer effective guidance and general tips to users around the world. In a statement Baybars Orsak, Director of IFCN (The International Fact-Checking Network) said that IFCN looks forward to discovering ways to understand the spread of health-related hoaxes on WhatsApp in different formats and to make tools available for fact-checkers to detect and debunk misinformation on the messaging app. The police have also conveyed the circular to all television news channels, newspapers and web portals to publish news related to COVID-19 after confirming it with the official and authorized sources. It is also noted here that even a common man can file a complaint against any misleading information with the local police stations or on www.cybercrime.gov.in.
In spite of these effective actions taken, there are still messages being forwarded without knowing the consequence, it is carrying with it. I would actually like to spot out the various messages a.k.a. false information about COVID-19, that has been very effective in people now a day.
A fake screenshot warning people to not open their doors to strangers has been circulating in New Jersey, the UK, and France.
One such hoax that got me really silly disgusting is this one “Blow dryers have forced air temperatures well above the level needed to kill coronavirus” and there is another one following this is “Indians have higher immunity because we have been exposed to more anti-bodies than people in the west” and “coronavirus does not survive in warm weather.” And there are still people who spread out the news that coronavirus is allergic to weed, to those who declared this, weed might be allergic to coronavirus but not to lung cancer. Moreover, the rumors about coronavirus affecting meat products have almost destroyed various poultry farming in Telangana.
People are relating more to an apocalyptic scenario to connect the present situation. That’s not going well with the information being spread, which is actually misleading the generation to a different situation.
Fake news circulating on social media is actually boosting up public fears on coronavirus, and the activity of mass-forwarding messages without verifying content has triggered rumor-mongering and, at times, panic. Let’s be cautious on the content we read and the messages we are forwarding
The coronavirus rumour control team has come up with three major ways to stop this crisis, which is as follows.
- Don’t blindly believe in the rumors you get on social media.
- Don’t pass them along without verifying its authenticity.
- Go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the federal (COVID-19) response.
7 Prevention Steps to Coronavirus provided by world health organisation
I would also like to quote various laws and amendments against those who pass along the false and various misleading contents.
- Section 505(1) of Indian Penal Code, 1860: The punishment for making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumor or a report which may cause fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public.
- Section 66D of the Information Technology Act: Whoever, by means for any communication device or computer resource, cheats by personating.
- Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005: Whoever makes or circulates a false alarm or warning as to disaster or its severity or magnitude, leading to panic.
I assure that we are aware of the situation and act accordingly with predominant measures and are also aware of the law and enforcement actions. These speculations that are misleading are actually spoiling the morale of the people. So let’s once again get united and fight against the deadly virus together.
From an awareness creation perspective, After creating a text or image poster, the visually engaging video post will really help to a wider audience.
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