A Whatsapp message claiming Bangalore’s Variar Bakery employee testing positive for COVID-19 has been widely circulating since last month. The message also lists ten places in the city, most of them eateries, that are allegedly dangerous due to the spread of coronavirus. Below is a screenshot of the viral message.
The famous Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (MTR), Vidyarthi Bhavan, Brahmin’s Hotel, and Karnataka Bhel House are a few eating joints included in the above list. The message concludes asking users to avoid the listed places for their own safety.
Fact Check/ Verification
The longtime serving Variar Bakery, is an old traditional bakery with two outlets in Bangalore. One is located in Rajajinagar 2nd block and the other in 5th block, Rajajinagar.
Since the bakery is a primary source in this claim, we reached out to them to verify this information. They clarified to us on call that none of their employees has tested positive for COVID-19 in either of the two locations, and that the rumour in context is fake.
A Facebook post on Variar Bakery’s official account also states that the viral Whatsapp message claiming their employees to be COVID-19 positive is fake. They claim that this “malicious news propagated by our competitor.”
Further through relevant keywords search on Google, we came across the following news articles that confirm the contents of this message to be false.
A June news article by Bangalore Mirror states that the Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association (BBHA) filed a complaint with the “police seeking action against spreading of fake news about prominent bakeries and restaurants in the city.”
Another news story in June by Economic Times reports on this fake Whatsapp message.
The above news reports include excerpts from a BBHA press note released on 26 June, 2020, which states that “This is a malicious propaganda by vested interests and perverted minds with an intention to malign the reputation of the prominent eating joints.”
We reached out to the Secretary of BBHA, Subramanya Holla S, who shared the press note with us and confirmed the Whatsapp message in context to be fake.
The Whatsapp message claiming an employee of Bangalore’s Variar Bakery to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus is fake. The remainder of the message which lists ten places to avoid due to the spread of COVID-19 is also false. Confirmation from Variar bakery, BBHA’s secretary and the above news reports confirm the same.
Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association press note