Warning – Coronavirus Can Spread Through Food in India: Fact Check


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Warning - Coronavirus Can Spread Through Food in India

Story:

Coronavirus, very new deadly form of virus, china is suffering, may come and spread to India immediately, avoid any form of cold drinks, ice creams, koolfee, etc, any type of preserved food, milkshake, rough ice, ice colas, milk sweets older then 48 hours, for atleast 90 days from today.

Fact Check:

A viral message on WhatsApp and other social media platforms warns Indians saying the deadly Corona Virus from China Can Spread Through Food. It warns people to avoid cold and preserved food for at least 90 days. No, the claims are not true and explained here.

About Coronavirus and Outbreak

On 9th January 2020, the World Health Organisation confirmed the outbreak of the new (or novel) Coronavirus originating in China’s Hubei province in a city called Wuhan. The deadly Novel coronavirus carrying a temporary name of 2019-nCoV has killed more than 130 people in China, as of 29th January 2020 report. Wuhan has reported many cases since its outbreak, infecting thousands of people in many parts of the world. Thailand, Japan, United States, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, Nepal and Sri Lanka are among them.

Symptoms and Precautions

After the outbreak, World Health Organisation said there’s a very high risk of the Coronavirus in China. Common signs of the infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to WHO. In case of severe cases, symptoms can include Pneumonia and Renal (Kidney) failure.

As part of precaution and safety, WHO recommends hand and respiratory hygiene along with some safe food practices.

Coronavirus in India?

As of this writing, there are no positive cases of Coronavirus confirmed in India. Government of India is quarantining suspicious cases and conducting Thermal screening at seven designated airports. The Ministry of Health also set up 24X7 helpline number +91-11-23978046 for queries on Novel Coronavirus.

Can Coronavirus Spread Through Food?

World Health Organisation suggests the transmission of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) can be similar to previous outbreaks due to other coronavirus (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In past, human to human transmission of coronavirus occurred through droplets, contact and fomites.

Nonetheless, as a safety measure, WHO suggests the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

There’s more to learn about the transmission of the new strain of Coronavirus 2019-nCoV. But no credible reports say Coronavirus can spread through food. In fact, no health or government organization in India or elsewhere released the warning statement in the story. So, the claims are hoaxes.

For your information, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread.

Update: 30th January 2020

India reported the first confirmed case of Coronavirus today in Kerala. The student who returned from Wuhan University is kept in isolation and stable as of this writing. On the other hand, India prepares to airlift first batch of citizens from the virus-hit Chinese city. China assured India of cooperation in epidemic prevention and control.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.


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Prashanth Damarla
Debunker

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