A message claiming that the Indian government has created a roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions in five phases through a three-week review process is in fact not by the Indian government. This phase-wise plan was originally released by the Government of Ireland.
This viral message has been circulating since the beginning of May on Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter. We received multiple queries related to this message on our Whatsapp helpline number.
The message begins with information on Mumbai being divided into seven zones and that each zone would be headed by an IAS officer.
This is followed by details of the government’s roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions in five phases which will be on a three-week review process. It further states that each phase would begin on the following dates: 18 May, 8 June, 29 June, 20 July, and the last phase on 10 August. The rest of the message includes details on the restrictions that would be lifted in each phase.
To verify the above information, we first contacted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for clarification. Their Commissioner’s office confirmed with us on call that a circular was released dividing Mumbai into seven zones and appointing an IAS officer to each zone.
With regard to the remainder of the message which claims that the Indian government created a roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions in five phases, the BMC official deemed it as false information. He said that the circular has no mention of phases as written in the Whatsapp message. He also stated that they follow all directives provided by the Central government and no such directive about easing restrictions has been issued.
The original source of the five-phase ease in restrictions has been traced to the Government of Ireland. Ireland’s taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, confirmed a phased, five-stage exit over three months to ease COVID-19 restrictions on 15 May in the tweet below.
We found the first paragraph of the message indicating Mumbai’s division into seven zones with each zone designated an IAS officer to be true. The remainder of the message which details the Indian government’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions in five phases is false.
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