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Message Claiming Bangalore’s Variar Bakery Employee To Be COVID-19 Positive Is Fake

Secretary of BBHA, Subramanya Holla S, shared a related press note with us and confirmed the Whatsapp message in context to be fake.

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Whatsapp message on Variar Bakery's employee testing positive is false

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. 

Viral Whatsapp message on Bangalore's Variar Bakery employee testing positive
Viral Whatsapp message on Bangalore’s Variar Bakery employee testing positive

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.”

There is a news on WhatsApp getting circulated that an employee of variar bakery is infected by covid and please don't…

Posted by Variar Bakery Rajajinagar on Thursday, June 25, 2020

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.” 

Bangalore Mirror's story on iconic restaurants in Bangalore being the target of fake news.
Bangalore Mirror’s story on iconic restaurants in Bangalore being the target of fake news

Another news story in June by Economic Times reports on this fake Whatsapp message. 

The Economic Times story on fake news related to restaurants in Bangalore
The Economic Times story on fake news related to restaurants in Bangalore

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. 

Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association June 26 Press Note
Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association June 26 Press Note

Conclusion

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.

Result: False 

Our Sources

Variar Bakery’s Facebook page

Bangalore Mirror: https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/fake-news-leaves-bad-taste-in-the-mouth-of-citys-iconic-restaurants/articleshow/76653870.cms

Economic Times: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/covid-19-mischief-hoteliers-move-police/articleshow/76648151.cms?from=mdr

Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association press note


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Fact check

Cipla Did Not Issue A Statement On Remdesivir’s Direct Supply To Hospitals

Cipla set up an additional helpline to share information on availability of critical Cipla products for COVID-19 in July, 2020.

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Cipla's additional helpline for information on critical COVID-19 products

Cipla will supply the drug Remdesivir directly to a patient’s hospital, shows an image widely circulated on social media platforms. The accompanying image includes details of Cipla helpline for COVID-19 as well as other details on the drug. 

We received the image in context on our Whatsapp helpline number asking us to verify this claim. 

Claim on Cipla supplying Remdesivir directly to hospitals.
Claim on Cipla supplying Remdesivir directly to hospitals.

This claim with the accompanying image has been circulating on social media platforms since July this year.

Fact Check/ Verification 

On 15 July, Cipla, the global pharmaceutical company “set up an additional #helpline to share information on availability of critical Cipla products, for the #COVID19 pandemic period only.” 

The image in the claim is almost identical to the one shared by the company about their additional helpline. Except it does not include details on the drug. 

This claim began to circulate on social media platforms at a time when the company launched “its generic version of broad-spectrum anti-viral drug remdesivir (branded Cipremi), to be used on critically ill Covid patients in the hospitals,” reported Financial Express. 

Costing Rs. 4000, you can read more about Cipla’s remdesivir Cipremi launched in India here

We reached out to Cipla who clarified that they didn’t issue any such statement as written in the image. “The second part of the message (after the poster) is not a statement by Cipla,” they said. 

The obvious grammatical errors in the image also led to suspicion on its authenticity. This includes the spelling of the drug Remdesivir, which was incorrectly written as “Rendemsivir”. Other errors include doctor’s advice written as “Dr. s Advise”, and written as “N” and no full stops at the end of a sentence. 

Conclusion 

The claim with the accompanying image which states that Cipla will supply the drug Remdesivir directly to a patient’s hospital is false. The pharmaceutical company did not issue any such statement. A poster of Cipla’s helpline to share information on its critical products has been modified to fit the claim. 

Result: False 

Our Sources

Direct confirmation from Cipla

Cipla’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cipla_Global/status/1283381524704849920?s=20

Cipla’s website: https://www.cipla.com/covid-care

Financial Express: https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/health/cipla-launches-remdesivir-claims-it-is-inexpensive/2018015/

LiveMint: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/coronavirus-vaccine-cipla-launches-generic-version-of-remdesivir-in-india-11594223346722.html



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Fact check

Kerala Police Officer Pins Down Youth Congress Worker, Not BJP Member

The man pinned to the ground was identified as Anthony, a Youth Congress worker, reported The News Minute.

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Kerala police officer pins Youth Congress worker down

A social media user tweeted an image of a Kerala police officer pinning a man to the ground. The user claims that the man is a member of Bharatiya Janata Party in Kerala. The tweet reads:

“This is how Kerala Police deal with @BJP4Keralam and @YUVAMORCHABJP at Thiruvananthapuram on #KTJaleelResign protest!”

Fact Check/ Verification

The photograph in context of a police officer pinning a man to the ground in Kerala has created quite a stir on social media platforms. Some users have equated the photograph to police brutality faced by the late George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA. 

When some of our intellectuals and media said Kerala has achieved conditions of living comparable to those of most…

Posted by Karthikeyan Ramakrishnan on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Through a reverse image search of the photograph we came across a News Minute article from 15 September titled, “Kerala cop pins Congress worker to ground during protest, pic sparks outrage.” 

The News Minute story on Kerala police officer pinning Youth Congress worker down
The News Minute story on Kerala police officer pinning Youth Congress worker down

The man pinned to the ground was identified as Anthony, a Youth Congress worker, “in order to allow Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel’s convoy to pass through,” according to the article.

It further quotes State Congress vice-president and former legislator PC Vishnunadh who called the police act shameful. “Just see the cruelty that was shown to one of our young activist Antony, who turned into a victim of police high-handedness, as literally a replay of what happened in the US was played out,” he said. 

Kerala Protests Turned Violent

Last week, Kerala witnessed widespread protests by various political parties demanding the state’s higher education minister KT Jaleel’s resignation. This was after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to a gold smuggling case. 

These protests which turned violent in many areas with police using water cannons included members of the Congress party, BJP, ABVP, Mahila Morcha and the Muslim league.

You can read more about the anti-government protests in Kerala here.

Member of AICC, Indian National Congress, VT Balram also posted the photograph in context on 14 September with the caption, “Citizen and Pinarayi government.”

പൗരനും പിണറായി സർക്കാരും

Posted by VT Balram on Monday, September 14, 2020

Chief photojournalist of Malayala Manorama Daily, Josekutty Panackal, shared a video published by Manorama News reporting about the photograph. 

അങ്കമാലി അമ്മാവൻ പ്രധാനമന്ത്രി… 🏃🏃‍♀️🏃🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

Posted by Josekutty Panackal on Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Manorama Online also reported on the incident on 14 September. 

Conclusion

Our research makes it clear that the police officer in the photograph is pinning a Youth Congress worker to the ground, and not a member of Bharatiya Janata Party. 

Result: Misleading 

Our Sources

The News Minute: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/kerala-cop-pins-congress-worker-ground-during-protest-pic-sparks-outrage-133126

New Indian Express: https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2020/sep/12/kerala-gold-smuggling-case-protests-erupt-in-state-demanding-minister-jaleels-resignation-2195950.html

The Hindu: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/gold-smuggling-case-anti-govt-protests-roil-kerala-for-sixth-day/article32628592.ece

Member of AICC, Indian National Congress, VT Balram: https://www.facebook.com/vtbalram/posts/10157974220694139

Chief photojournalist of Malayala Manorama Daily, Josekutty Panackal: https://www.facebook.com/josekuttyp/posts/3479483808768662

Manorama Online: https://www.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/2020/09/14/protest-against-kerala-government.html

Prathmesh Kunt contributed towards research of this fact check.


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Fact check

Weekly Wrap: A Look At The Different Political, Health, And Celebrity Related Claims In India

In 5 minutes read the Top 5 Fake News of the week.

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Top 5 Fake News of the week.

Claims related to India-China dispute in Ladakh were on a rise this past week. Along with this, social media users revived an old claim related to Indian actress Sridevi’s death. Continue reading to learn more about the top five among these.

2018 Image Of MI-17 Helicopter Crash Shared With Misleading Claims Related To Ladakh

Our research makes it clear that the photograph in the claim is from an Indian Air Force MI-17 helicopter crash in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in April 2018. The cargo chopper collided with an iron girder while attempting to land near Kedarnath temple. 

Read Full Fact Check Here

Recent Claims On Priyanka Gandhi’s House In Chharabra Being Illegal Are Misleading

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Himachal is not illegal. She “formally became the owner of four bighas and five biswas of land in Charabra on the outskirts of the town after the registry was done in her name on a payment of Rs 46.79 lakh.”

Read Full Fact Check Here

ICMR Did Not Release Any Guidelines For Use Of Ivermectin In COVID-19 Treatment, UP Government Did

On 6 August, the Uttar Pradesh government released guidelines on the use of Ivermectin (Tab) to prevent COVID-19 infection, not ICMR.

Read Full Fact Check Here

Social Media Posts Claiming Sridevi’s Death ‘Not A Natural One’ Are False

It’s clear that Sridevi’s death occurred due to accidental drowning in her hotel room in Dubai. Posts which state that the actor passed away an unnatural death due to external toxins injected in her body are false. 

Read Full Fact Check Here

Did Facebook Launch “Mark Yourself Safe From Shivsena Goons” Feature?

Facebook did not launch a new feature where people can mark themselves safe from Shivsena Goons. It is a work of fiction by a satirical web portal, The Fauxy.

Read Full Fact Check Here


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