Irked by the series of criticisms and negative attention over the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Indian government has banned the use of the terminology “Indian variant of COVID-19” and instructed the removal of such content from social media.

An order by the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology weekend instructed social media platforms to remove all the content that names refer to, or implies Indian variant of coronavirus immediately.

The statement by the IT ministry pointed out that the variant that was first discovered in India is listed by the World Health Organisation, WHO, as the B.1.617 variant, and observed that any reference to “Indian” was false.

The statement read: “It has come to our knowledge that a false statement is being circulated online which implies that an ‘Indian variant’ of coronavirus is spreading across the countries.

“This is completely false,” the statement said. affirmed that the WHO has not associated the term ‘Indian variant’ with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its reports”.

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Although geographical terms have been used to describe a number of other variants, including the ones first discovered in South Africa, the UK, and Brazil, the WHO had consistently discouraged such terminologies.

India has been hit hard by the new variant since late March and has recorded more than 26 million cases of the infection, according to Johns Hopkins University research.


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