A fake tweet attributed to the Assam health minister and speculative news circulated in the media on red zones in the state led to confusion in Assam on May 11.
A doctored screenshot of Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s Twitter handle, claiming of increase in number of COVID-19 positive cases, created a sensation in the morning.
The message claimed that eight new COVID-19 patients, who had travelled in the same bus as other positive patients from Rajasthan to Cachar district, were detected on May 11, taking the total case load to 70 in the state.
Sarma, who has been regularly updating the media and public through Twitter on the COVID-19 status in the state, denied the tweet.
Issuing a denial through Twitter, he wrote: “I have noted with deep concern an altered/morphed screenshot of my tweet – where the numbers have been changed. I have asked Assam Police to immediately file an FIR and investigate.”
Later in the afternoon, speculations on change in categorization of districts in the state in the local TV channels as well as news websites led to further confusion. News of inclusion of several districts of the state, including Kamrup Metro, in which the main city Guwahati is located, in red zone was flashed on television as well as social media.
Denying any such notification, Sarma said, “No new Government of India categorization has come today. News is speculative.”
There are no red zone districts in the state so far, as per the last categorization issued by the ministry of Health and Family Welfare, government of India.
Altogether 64 positive cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the state so far, while 34 of them have recovered and two have died.