India reportedly orders social media platforms to remove references to “Indian variant” of COVID-19
India’s authorities has despatched notices to social media platforms ordering them to take down content material that refers to an “Indian variant” of the COVID-19 virus, Reuters reported. The letter from the Ministry of Electronics and Data Know-how despatched Friday was not made public, however was considered by a number of information retailers.
It was not clear which social media retailers acquired the letter, however India’s authorities has just lately ordered Twitter to remove tweets and Fb and Instagram to take down posts that had been essential of its dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There isn’t a such variant of COVID-19 scientifically cited as such by the World Well being Organisation (WHO). WHO has not related the time period ‘Indian Variant’ with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in any of its stories,” the letter states, including that the phrase is “fully FALSE.”
A variant of the coronavirus first detected in India final 12 months, B.1.617 is believed liable for the newest wave of COVID-19 circumstances in south Asia. The World Well being Group has labeled it as a variant of international concern, with some proof that it’s extra contagious than different strains of the virus.
However whereas India’s strategy to censoring details about the coronavirus and variants is excessive, WHO and different well being organizations and scientists are essential of the follow of referring to viruses and variants with geographic nicknames, since it may be stigmatizing and inaccurate. The WHO’s 2015 steerage for naming infectious illnesses discourages utilizing place names, human names, or animal species names.
Nevertheless, as Nationwide Geographic notes in its excellent explainer about how virus variants get their names, the present naming conventions are cumbersome and complicated, making them troublesome for non-scientists to grasp or bear in mind. Nationwide Geographic stories that WHO is working with virologists to create a brand new method of naming viruses.
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