January 21, 2022

India urges the social media intermediaries to remove the content with the term ‘Indian variant’

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India has presented a strong objection over the usage of the term ‘Indian variant’ for the Covid-19 variant B.1.617 on several contents posted on various social media platforms. According to reliable sources, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MIETY) has urged the social media intermediaries with a written letter to take down any such content at the earliest.

The Indian government has contacted all the popular social media platforms including  Twitter, Facebook and Koo to take the required action. In the advisory, India has also quoted the World Health Organization (WHO) mentioning about no variant to be scientifically proved to be ‘Indian’.

India firmly believes that there are intentional efforts taken to widespread misinformation by terming the B.1.617 as an Indian variant, but, the WHO never associates or names a virus with any country where it is first identified.

WHO posted on Twitter, “WHO does not identify viruses or variants with names of countries they are first reported from? We refer them by their scientific names and request all to do the same for consistency.”

In 2020, China, during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, had also raised objections about using the term “Wuhgan virus”.

Very recently, there was a diplomatic controversy about Arvind Kejriwal’s comment that a Covid-19 variant from Singapore might affect the children. Singapore blamed him for spreading misinformation and issued orders to the social media platforms to remove the related content.

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