Social media is playing a major role in creating panic among the masses by instigating fear about the country going into a lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak. We came across few images circulating on social media with similar claims. The images of a viral Press Release is circulating on social media claiming that this press release is issued by India’s PMO regarding movement restriction put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak . It is also claimed that the press release was issued by the National Security Council, Prime Minister’s Office (PMO – India).
We started our investigation by using a simple keyword search on Google which resulted in a tweet dated 19th March 2002 posted by Prasar Bharati News Services which clearly mentioned that this viral press release is not from India and also not for India.
We also found a similar tweet by PIB Fact Check which mentioned that no such press release was issued by the Government of India.
Next, we started searching for the origin of this press release. We noticed a helpline number given as ‘03-8888 2010’ on the press release. When we searched for that number on Google, it directed us to a news article by “The Star”. According to the report the number was set up as a special hotline by the Malaysian Government ‘to address questions and complaints by the public on any issues relating to the movement control order, which was imposed due to the Covid-19 outbreak’.
This number was also tweeted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry – Malaysia (‘MITI Malaysia’) on 19th March 2020.
The same press release can also be found on the PMO-Malaysia website. Thus the press release was not issued by the Indian Government.
Conclusion– Fact Crescendo found the above-mentioned post to be False. The viral images of the press release which talks about the restricted movement of citizens have not been issued by the PMO or the Government of India. It is originally from Malaysia and was issued for Malaysian citizens.
Title:The press release on the movement restriction for COVID-19 outbreak was issued by PMO-MalaysiaFact Check By: Aavya Ray