Former Union Minister and BJP MP Maneka Gandhi on Friday dismissed rumours that animals spread novel coronavirus and make it clear that animals cannot transmit the infectious disease. She said that many government and private departments were creating panic by spreading false information.
"It has been brought to my notice by hundred of complaints across government departments and insurance companies are creating panic regarding the coronavirus by taking out advisories which they have not confirmed with the health department, saying that nobody should go near live animals. This is completely wrong and misleading," she said.
"The health department of this country has clearly said that animals do not have coronavirus and cannot transmit coronavirus. So, I would advise that ministry of electronics, insurance companies, ministry of railways, not to bring out fake ads, saying that do not go near-live animals. This is going to create another form of crisis in India," she added.
Several people stopped consuming chicken and eggs following rumours that they will be infected with COVID-19. She said that the issue will be raised in Parliament on Friday. The World Health Organisation has also said, "There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19."
The rise in the number of cases has prompted the Central and state governments across the country to take some drastic steps. The Home Ministry has conferred Health Secretary Preeti Sudan with special powers under the Disaster Management Act to take measures to curb the spread of the disease in the country.
On Wednesday, the Centre suspended visas of all foreign nationals coming to the country from Friday till 15 April. Kerala, Delhi and Haryana have declared the disease an epidemic in their states, with the Delhi government also shutting down cinema theatres, schools and colleges till 31 March.
The Union Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed 75 COVID-19 cases so far in India. The virus has infected over 80,000 people in China -- the epicentre of the disease -- and cases have been reported in over 100 other countries.
(With agency inputs)