Chandigarh, Sep 2 (PTI) Circulation of several social-media rumours, including alleged organ harvesting of coronavirus patients, have posed a new challenge for the Punjab Health Department as villagers in some places preventing the medical teams from collecting samples, officials said on Wednesday.
Health authorities have appealed to the people not to fall prey to such canards and get themselves tested for early detection of the infection.
Besides falsehoods about organ harvesting, such as kidneys, there are also 'rumours' about poor facilities at government hospitals, and health workers and doctors getting paid for declaring persons positive for coronavirus, according to the officials.
A few incidents in the past few days took place in Sangrur, Moga and other areas, where villagers resisted the entry of health teams for collecting samples, officials said.
Some villages in Sangrur and Moga even passed resolutions declaring that they would not send anyone to government hospitals after the person tests positive and the patient will be isolated at home or a common place at the village, according to the officials.
'Rumours about organs being taken out and payment to the health staff for declaring people positive for the infection are being spread on social media,' a Moga district official said.
People are also scared as they think coronavirus testing is a difficult test, the official said.
Moga district alone has witnessed seven-eight incidents, in which villagers expressed resentment against COVID-19 tests.
Mohali civil surgeon Manjit Singh said some 'anti-social elements' were trying to mislead people by spreading rumours and false information about coronavirus on social media.
Health officials pointed out that an audio clip spreading rumour about organ harvesting and deaths of coronavirus patients at Mohali civil hospital was posted on online.
Singh dubbed the alleged organ harvesting rumour 'completely baseless', adding that the state authorities would take strict action against those who spread such falsehoods.
The health authorities have lodged a complaint with the cybercrime cell of the Punjab Police in this matter.
On some villagers insisting on not going to government hospitals, health officials said patients who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms had the option of home isolation.
They are also regularly monitored through video calls by the health teams. The sampling was carried out to detect infection at an early stage, officials said.
Punjab has been witnessing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, with tally rising to over 55,000, including 1,512 deaths. PTI CHS VSD HMB