New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Days after the clarification from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it does not mention the B.1.617 COVID-19 strain as an Indian variant, the government of India on Friday has asked the social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others to immediately remove any content referring the B.1.617 strain as Indian Variant or anything that uses Indian Variant.

The government sources said that the request has been made to curb the misinformation and fake news around COVID-19 on social media platforms. As per a report by news agency PTI, quoting government sources, the IT Ministry has written a letter to the social media companies asserting the fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not associated the word Indian variant with B.1.617 strain in any of its report.

The PTI report further stated that a notice has also been issued in this regard on Friday by the IT Ministry, which states that a false statement is being circulated online that implies that an "Indian variant" of coronavirus is spreading across countries. "All social media platforms have been asked to remove all the content that names, refers to, or implies ‘Indian variant' of corona virus from your platform immediately".

The Union Health Ministry has already clarified the matter on May 12 through a press release. The government termed media reports terming the B.1.617 variant of COVID-19 as Indian variant as 'baseless and unfounded' without any basis. The government further said that the 32-page document of the WHO does not associate the Indian variant of COVID-19 with the B.1.617 mutated strain.

"Several media reports have covered the news of WHO classifying B.1.617 as a variant of global concern. Some of these reports have termed the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus as an “Indian Variant”. These media reports are without any basis, and unfounded", the government had said.

In fact, the word Indian has not been used in its report on the matter. This is to clarify that WHO has not associated the term “Indian Variant” with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in its 32-page document", it added.

The strong response from the Indian government came after the WHO clarified that it does not identify the strains and variants of COVID-19 with the names of the countries they originate from rather it refers to them with their scientific name.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan