There has been a situation of panic among the citizens due to the outbreak of COVID-19 amidst which the social media is flooded with hoaxes related to the disease. COVID-19 has claimed 8778 lives until now as per the Situation Report published by the WHO on 19th March 2020. Recently we came across a viral audio sent to Fact Crescendo on our WhatsApp Number 9049053770 for verification. The audio clip in question is a recording of a man who claims that he is a friend of WHO’s India Director’s brother- Saurabh, who gave him information that India will go into a complete lockdown mode from next week from 15th April to 15th June 2020.
Further the man says, “WHO sends a situation report to India in every 4-5 days where they are trying to hide the numbers from being published in print. WHO and the Indian Government are slowly trying to implement a lock down situation in the country so that people do not panic. WHO has already shared a report which mentions that India has stepped into a very critical situation which now requires a complete lockdown. The only facilities available to the common man during this period will be police and medical facilities.”
He also asked the listeners above 60 years of age not to step out their houses as they are more susceptible to COVI-19. Moreover, the elderly will not get immediate medical assistance due to their low immunity. He adds that the younger generation will get immediate medical assistance as they are the future of the country.
The caption with the audio mentioned “Don’t know how authentic is this but if this is true then India is going to face a very critical situation. Everyone please listen to this.”
We started our investigation by using a simple keyword search on Google and came across a tweet by PIB Fact Check on the 19th March 2020. The tweet mentioned that “Many ‘lockdown’ rumours are going viral on #WhatsApp and other social media platforms. The assertion made in the message is #fake and pure scaremongering.”
Fact Crescendo contacted WHO’s official in SEARO who confirmed to us that the viral audio on social media is “Fake”.
Conclusion- Fact Crescendo found the above viral audio to be False. The viral audio in circulation has no authenticity. India is not going into a lockdown from 15th April 2020 to 15th June 2020.
Update – On 20 March 2020 we received another tweet by Prasar Bharti News Service which clearly clarified that “An audio conversation mentioning WHO sending report to Indian govt regarding lockdown is doing rounds on Social Media. In conversation with PBNS, WHO India said, “This audio is FAKE.” Additionally, while the audio falsely attributes such statements to have come from WHO Director in India, WHO India has clarified, “There is no such post in India. WHO India is headed by Representative to India, who is NOT a woman, as said in the audio clip.”
Title:Viral WhatsApp audio claiming 2 month lock down in India is FAKE !Fact Check By: Aavya Ray