A message is getting circulated on Twitter in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. It urges people not to get out of their houses after 10 PM and stay in till 5 AM as ‘there will be spraying [of] medicine in the air to kill COVID-19’. The message seems to be circulating in many cities and is being attributed to the respective local authorities. “Hello i kindly request you not to come out of your house after 10 pm tonight till tomorrow 5 am…As their will be spraying medicine in the air in order to kill the COVID-19!! Share this information to all your friends,relatives and your families. Thank you!” – reads the viral text.
Alt News has also received requests on its official WhatsApp number to fact-check this claim.
The message is also circulating on WhatsApp in Gujarati. “મ્યુનિસિપલ કમિશનરનો સંદેશ * * કૃપા કરીને ધ્યાનથી સાંભળો * નમસ્તે, સૌને નમ્ર વિનંતી છે કે આવતીકાલે રાત્રે 10 વાગ્યા પછી કાલે સવારે 5 વાગ્યા સુધી તમારા ઘરની બહાર ન આવવા …. કેમકે તેઓ COVID-19 ને મારવા માટે હવામાં દવા છાંટશે. આ માહિતી તમારા બધા મિત્રો, સંબંધીઓ અને તમારા પરિવારોને શેર કરો … આભાર!”, reads the same text in Gujarati.
Press Information Bureau’s (PIB) fact-check wing has debunked this rumour and clarified, “NO such action has been planned out by the Indian Government.”
Amidst #Coronavirusoutbreak, misinformation on CV Vaccine gas spread out through Airplanes is circulating on social media
NO such action has been planned out by the Indian Government.
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) March 17, 2020
Karnataka’s Department of Information and Public Relations too called out the rumour that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will be “spraying medicine in the air in order to take precautionary measure”. Karnataka DIPR wrote, “Kindly do not believe in any rumor until it is issued from the authentic officials as circular.”
Kindly do not believe in any rumor until it is issued from the authentic officials as circular.
Ref Docket: CMP01764
— ಜನಸ್ನೇಹಿ-ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ/ Janasnehi-Karnataka (@Karnataka_DIPR) March 18, 2020
An article by Pakistani news outlet Dawn reported that the rumour is also circulating in Pakistan. A similar rumour of the “special military helicopters” planning to spray pesticides against coronavirus was shared in the Pakistani social media ecosystem. The rumour was subsequently debunked by the Pakistani army’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) department.
The claim that medicine or pesticide will be sprayed in the air to tackle coronavirus is false.