Amid the outbreak of COVID-19 across the country, Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan pointed out towards the spread of misinformation around the pandemic. He said that some 'anti-social elements' have been exhorting people to come outdoors post the conclusion of Janta Curfew at 9 PM on Sunday with misinformation. Abolishing the false information, the Health Minister urged people to practice social distancing as a habit.
He said, "Some anti-social elements are spreading misinformation that after today's Janta Curfew ends, the deadly virus will be wished away. They're exhorting people to come outdoors after 9 PM. This is false and an attempt to mislead the people. Social distancing must be adopted as a habit."
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Friday issued an advisory directed at all social media platforms urging them to curb the spread of false news regarding coronavirus on their platforms.
"Under Section 79 of the IT Act, the social media platforms, which are intermediaries in legal terms, must inform their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, update or share any information that may affect public order," the advisory reads.
"The social media platforms are urged to initiate awareness campaigns on their platforms for the users not to circulate any false news regarding coronavirus. They should take immediate action to disable or remove such content hosted on their platforms on a priority basis. They should promote the dissemination of authentic information related to coronavirus," adds the advisory.
The Centre and state governments have decided to announce a lockdown in 75 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported, officials said on Sunday. It has also decided to suspend inter-state bus services till March 31, they said. The decisions have been taken at a high-level meeting attended by chief secretaries of all States and the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
In view of the need to contain the spread of COVID 19, it was agreed that there is an urgent need to extend the restrictions on the movement of non-essential passenger transport including inter-state transport buses till March 31, 2020, a home ministry official said. State governments will issue orders allowing only essential services to operate in about 75 districts with confirmed COVID 19 cases or casualties, the official said.
(With ANI inputs)