Fake: News portal says India in corona Stage 3

CLAIM
A leading digital news website put out a news report with a claim that India is now in Stage-3 of Covid-19 transmission. Stage-3 is called ‘community transmission’ when a person who has no travel history has contracted through domestic sources.

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The website made this claim quoting Girdhar Gyani, a man it described as a doctor who’s part of some Covid-19 hospital task force, an initiative by Niti Aayog

Quoting Gyani, the website claimed that the community transmission of coronavirus in India has begun but the government is not making it public.

Here’s the screengrab of he report

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TRUTH

Gryani clarified that the headline was blown out of proportion. On the day the website interviewed him, he said that as per the data available India was not in Stage-3 of transmission.

In an interview given to Priyanka Sharma, health reporter of news agency ANI, Dr Gyani clarified, “luckily till today increase in number of cases is purely arithmetic while in community spread it goes up geometrically or exponentially.”

What’s more, Dr Gyani is neither a medical practitioner nor epidemiologist. He is academically an electrical engineer, who later did a PhD in Quality Management. He is currently Director General at Association of Healthcare Providers (Inda).

Here’s a screenshot of his LinkedIn profile

Linkedin.
Linkedin.

Later AHPI took to its Twitter handle and called the report “misleading”. It said that in an interview dated March 27, 2020, Dr Gyani told the website that although he has a sense that India is currently not in Stage-3 transmission but it would be better if India prepares as if it were in stage-3.

Also, the official high-level technical committee of Public Health Experts for Covid-19 established under Niti Aayog doesn’t have Gyani on its panel.

Here’s the copy of the letter by Prof Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). This letter addressed to Joint Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has the name of 21 Public Health Experts under the chairmanship of Dr Vinod Paul, member of Niti Aayog. It doesn’t have the name of Dr Gyani.

icmr.

The Fact Check arm of Press Information Bureau on its official Twitter handle quoted AHPI’s tweet and called the report ‘misleading’

After AHPI called the website for publishing misleading information in the name of Dr Gyani, the website altered its headline to “India May be in Stage 3: COVID-19 Hospital Task Force Convener”.

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VERDICT
Times Fact Check has found that a leading digital portal has published a misleading article claiming that India was in Stage-3 of Covid-19 transmission.

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