Has the ICMR issued a new COVID-19 advisory? Fact Check 

A 21 point advisory allegedly issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is going viral on social media. The advisory has been shared numerous times. The list of pointers includes dos and dont’s regarding travel, ordering food, hygiene etiquettes, etc. Out of the 21 points, some of them include

– Do not eat outside food for 1 year

– Prefer vegetarian food

– Increase immunity

– Avoid Unnecessary Meetings, Always keep in mind Social Distancing

– Do not bring the shoes into your house. Leave them outside.

The advisory states that these precautions ought to be followed for the next six to twelve months in the wake of the COVID-19 surge in reported cases. The list has the ICMR logo and has been allegedly signed by the same organization.

Some users have shared similar claims without the ICMR logo.

Fact Check:

Digiteye India team checked the official website of ICMR to see if any such press release has been issued by the organization. We found no such COVID-19 advisory.

The first five points talk about travel. Regarding travel in a pandemic, it is advised to follow the local government’s rule regarding intrastate and interstate movements. Most Indian states have implemented lockdown, partial lockdowns, or weekend curfews. The list of states which have imposed lockdown or similar restrictions includes- Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Bihar, Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Goa, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Puducherry, Nagaland, Mizoram, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and West Bengal.

State rules and guidelines should be followed. It has also been advised time and again to travel only for emergency or work purposes and not leisure. Similarly, various countries abroad have suspended flights from India after the recent spike in cases. These countries include Canada, UAE, UK, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Oman, Thailand, Iran, Australia, Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Malaysia, Malawi, Nigeria, Israel, Taiwan, Philippines, Cambodia, Sri Lanka.

With the rise in cases, various experts have suggested double masking as an effective way to protect oneself from the virus. The CDC suggests 2 ways to layer masks — Use a cloth mask that has multiple layers of fabric, Wear a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. Even the Indian government has issued a PSA on how to effectively double mask. The MoHFW has issued an advisory on maintaining hand hygiene — “Frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 40 seconds or clean with alcohol-based sanitizer.”

via MoHFW

The advisory states that one should prefer vegetarian food. However, Digiteye India has already debunked the claim that non-vegetarian food has coronavirus links. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India issued a press release that stated how the virus has no links to non-veg food items. Similarly, the Economic Times carried a report where AIIMS director, Randeep Guleria, refutes this claim and says “As common healthcare precaution, all kinds of meat should be thoroughly washed and properly cooked”.

Similarly WHO states that “the likelihood of COVID-19 being spread on shoes and infecting individuals is very low. As a precautionary measure, particularly in homes where infants and small children crawl or play on floors, consider leaving your shoes at the entrance of your home.” It also states that ordering in food is not harmful because “coronaviruses need a live animal or human host to multiply and survive and cannot multiply on the surface of food packages. It is not necessary to disinfect food packaging materials, but hands should be properly washed after handling food packages and before eating”.

Claim:

ICMR issued a 21 point advisory to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Rating:

While several measures mentioned in the advisory are generally good practices to lessen the spread of the virus, others lack any scientific backing. A close perusal of the 21 points shows various grammatical mistakes and irregular capitalization which highlight that the advisory is not official or issued by the ICMR. Our rating – Misinterpretation.

About Snigdha Nalini

Snigdha Nalini is an intern with Digiteye India and a student of journalism at the Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC), Pune. She can be reached at admin@digiteye.in.

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