A medical technician uses a nasal swab to test for COVID-19 in Amritsar, India on May 4, 2020. (AFP / Narinder Nanu)

Hoax list of 'COVID-19 safety guidelines' circulates in India

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A list of purported COVID-19 safety guidelines has been shared in multiple Facebook and Instagram posts that claim it was issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India’s leading research group on the novel coronavirus. The claim is false; the ICMR said it did not issue the purported advisory; an online search found the list was not included on ICMR's website or in guidelines from India's health ministry. 

The purported guidelines were published on Facebook here on May 13, 2020. 

A screenshot taken on May 22, 2020, of the misleading post by Facebook user Jan Seva Yuva Sangh -The Rising Youth

Posts sharing the purported ICMR guidelines were also published on Facebook here, here and here; and on Instagram here, here and here alongside a similar claim.

The claim is false.

“This is Fake News. ICMR has not issued any such guideline,” Dr. Rajni Kant, ICMR’s head of Research Management, Policy, Planning and Coordination, told AFP in an email on May 18. “All guidelines and advisory as issued by ICMR are uploaded on ICMR website.”

The purported guidelines shared in the misleading social media posts were not published on ICMR’s official website here or included in the Indian health ministry’s guidelines here.  

As of May 22, India has had more than 112,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,400 deaths, according to World Health Organization figures.