Coronavirus fake news: Authorities urge caution - Eastern Mirror
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Coronavirus fake news: Authorities urge caution

By Our Reporter Updated: Mar 17, 2020 11:55 pm

Cops zero in on social media accounts of suspects involved in spread of fake Covid-19 message

Our Reporter
Dimapur, March 17 (EMN):
Several fake messages about Covid-19 shared across social media platforms have fuelled panic and anxiety amongst the public.

After a bogus message about two students being tested positive in a certain ‘Apollo Hospital’ in Dimapur went viral, a statement from the director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Vizolie Z Suokhrie said that all over the country, testing is conducted only in government facilities duly identified and certified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

“Private hospitals and laboratories are not mandated to conduct testing for Covid-19,” stated Suokhrie.

Further, the statement informed that sample collection, transportation and testing would be done through the state Health department, while identified testing centres would reject any samples from any other source except from the department of Health and Family Welfare. 

As of now, there are 62 testing centres for Covid-19 in the country. In the Northeast, Assam has four, Manipur has two and one in Meghalaya.

State Nodal Officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and Deputy Director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Nyan Kikon appealed to the public not to forward such news before verifying it from the state helpline numbers.

“We are not in control of what comes in but as responsible citizens, we are in control of what goes out,” said Kikon while speaking Eastern Mirror on Tuesday.

Further, Kikon also felt that the primary duties of law enforcement agencies take a back seat while tackling ‘unnecessary fake news’.

Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur, Anoop Khinchi said that strict action would be taken against anyone found guilty of spreading false news. “The surveillance team will have a system in place to indentify the culprit via social media,” said Khinchi.

The public relations officer (PRO) at the police headquarters in Kohima also informed that preliminary investigation was in progress regarding the search for culprits behind the spread of fake news on Covid-19.

“After enquiring statements and analysing social media accounts of suspect person(s), we will take concrete action,” said the PRO.

The district surveillance officer of Dimapur, Dr. Imtiwapong further informed that the district control room (Dimapur) will be activated on March 18; under this initiative, these helpline numbers 7630877991, 7630877983 will remain operational from 9 am to 4 pm.

By Our Reporter Updated: Mar 17, 2020 11:55:55 pm