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Did not seek details of hospital WhatsApp groups, say police

“We did not ask hospital authorities to issue any such order. It appears they did this to stop people from spreading any kind of fake news,” said a senior police officer.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 5, 2020 1:57:28 am
WhatsApp forwards, coronavirus symptoms, outbreak, Covid 19 cases, self- quarantine, Indian express news A total of 48 people — 20 of whom have tested positive, while reports of others are awaited — are admitted at Safdarjung Hospital.

A day after the additional medical superintendent at Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital issued an order asking details of the administrators of WhatsApp groups of the hospital for “onward transmission to police”, senior Delhi Police officers said they had made no such requests of the hospital administration.

A total of 48 people — 20 of whom have tested positive, while reports of others are awaited — are admitted at Safdarjung Hospital.

“We did not ask hospital authorities to issue any such order. It appears they did this to stop people from spreading any kind of fake news,” said a senior police officer.

The circular, issued on April 3, said: “… I am directed by competent authority that as a legal requirement, names, mobile numbers, email of all admins of WhatsApp groups of hospital are required for onward transmission to police. This is required to prevent spreading of any fake news, rumour or any other adverse comments/statements on social media and in the institution by any hospital/college staff.”

Asked why these details had been sought, Medical Superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital Balwinder Singh Arora said, “No one should spread fake news.”

He did not respond when asked if there had been an instance of someone sharing fake news or if the police had asked them to issue the circular.

Dr Manish, president of the Safdarjung RDA, said: “There was fake news which stated that five days’ salaries of doctors and healthcare workers will be deducted. The Ministry then clarified that no such orders have been passed by the Director-General of Health Services. Also, many staff members are circulating wrong information about COVID-19 cases. The letter has been issued to ensure there is no panic among the general public.”

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