Remove content that mentions 'Indian covid variant': Centre writes to all social media platforms
The Centre on Friday wrote to all social media platforms asking them to immediately remove all content that names, refers to, or implies that B.1.617 is an 'Indian variant' of the coronavirus. "It has come to our knowledge that a false statement is being circulated online which implies that an 'Indian variant' of coronavirus is spreading across the countries. This is completely FALSE. There is no such variant of Covid-19 scientifically cited as such by the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO has not associated the term "Indian Variant" with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its reports," the ministry of electronics and information technology wrote.
On May 12, the Centre clarified that there is no Indian variant of coronavirus as the World Health Organization does not name any variant after the country where it has been first reported from.
Several reports categorised B.1.617 as an Indian variant after WHO classified this strain as a variant of global concern. This was the fourth variant after those first detected in Britain, Brazil and South Africa, but WHO did not mention it as an Indian variant as it does not conform to its practice of naming variant strains.
"WHO does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported from. We refer to them by their scientific names and request all to do the same for consistency," WHO said.
The Singapore government has also asked Facebook, Twitter to carry a correction notice to users in the country as Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the new variant found in Singapore is more dangerous to children. This comment snowballed into a political controversy as Singapore authorities said there is no Singapore variant and the recent spike of Covid-19 cases is actually due to the strain first detected in India. India's foreign ministry too reacted to Kejriwal's comment saying he does not speak for India.