Remove Reference To ‘Indian Variant’ Of Covid: Centre Tells Social Media Firms

The Electronics & IT Ministry has asked social media giants to remove all contents comprising names or anything that implies an Indian variant of the coronavirus.

“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,” stated a letter from the IT Ministry issued on Friday which is not yet public, Reuters reported.

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The Reuters report stated that the senior Indian government sources have said the notice it was issued to send a message loud and clear that such mentions of “Indian variant” spread miscommunication and hurt the country’s image.

The report also said that the IT ministry could not be reached for a comment.

A social media executive was quoted as saying in the Reuters report, would be difficult to take down all content using the word as there would be hundreds of thousands of such posts, adding that “such a move would lead to keyword based censorship going forward.”

Coronavirus variants globally have been referred to by doctors and health experts on the basis of where they are identified. This includes South Africa and Brazil variants.

India has the second-highest tally of COVID-19 cases in the world and has been reporting around 250,000 infections and 4,000 deaths daily.

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