As the scare of the Coronavirus continues to grip people, social media has become a battlefield between countless pieces of rumours, misinformation, and fake news, and facts. Leading the charge to debunk misinformation and myths and educate netizens of the facts has been Press Information Bureau's special fact-checking Twitter handle — PIB Fact Check. The page was started in December last year to counter misinformation on government policies/schemes during the anti-CAA agitation.
The handle has been regularly posting illustrations with facts and figures on viral fake news that circulates often on social media. In its profile bio, the page has mentioned the email address — firstname.lastname@example.org — on which users can send pieces of unconfirmed information, which the agency will then look into and post whether it's fake news.
On Monday, PIB Fact Check countered a piece of fake news which said that Coronavirus can be treated by gargling with warm water mixed with salt and vinegar. The fake viral message had claimed that before reaching the lungs of humans, the Coronavirus remains in the throat for four days, leading to cough and throat pain in an affected person.
#Coronavirus CANNOT be treated by gargling with warm water mixed with salt and vinegar.— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 16, 2020
This is #fakenews circulating on social media and WhatsApp.
For authentic information on #Coronavirusoutbreak, follow @PIB_India and @MoHFW_INDIA #PIBFactCheck #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/gKUGDBqR9Q
As Coronavirus, also called COVID-19, is believed to have originated in an illegal wildlife market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year, there have been rumours that the virus can be transmitted to owners of cats and dogs from their pets. PIB Fact Check, however, maintained that there is no evidence backing such claims and instead noted that personal hygiene should be followed.
#FACTCHECK: There is No evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted by pets such as 🐈cats and 🦮dogs— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 16, 2020
However, personal hygiene should be followed like washing hands well with soap and water.#Indiafightscoroanvirus
Get facts on #Coronavirus right: https://t.co/wfZkDKo3iI pic.twitter.com/COkMefKdAJ
Claim:— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 12, 2020
Taking a hot bath will protect you from #Coronavirus .#PIBFactCheck:
No! Taking a hot bath does not prevent #COVID19 disease.
As per WHO, normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower.#CoronavirusPandemic pic.twitter.com/PdQpsQtzbD
#FakeNews Alert: There is NO evidence to prove that consumption of Poultry products can spread #Coronavirus Infection. However, general principles of hygiene should be followed.— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 9, 2020
For Clarification read: https://t.co/boeuigoNdz pic.twitter.com/NaPQUSaAA7
#PIBFACTCHECK: NO! #COVID19 cannot be transmitted through Mosquito Bites. #Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads primarily through droplets generated by an infected person on cough, sneeze, saliva or discharge from the nose.#coronaviruspandemic pic.twitter.com/FM9CezlaNj— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 12, 2020
#PIBFactCheck— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 5, 2020
Another misinformation on #Coronavirus circulating on social media asserts that consumption of
alcohol prevents #Coronavirus infection.
This rumour is #Fake! Drinking alcohol does not protect you from #nCoV infection.
Read: https://t.co/uJ0bgK0wen pic.twitter.com/xlMkVkgR8X
COVID-19 has affected nearly 148 countries in the world. There are over 168,019 confirmed cases of infection which has led to the death of at least 7,000 people. As there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medicine to treat COVID-19, countries have been grappling with all possible mechanisms to contain its scope. So far, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran have witnessed the most number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus. India has confirmed 114 cases, with two deaths.