WebQoof Recap: COVID-19 Fake News on Tomato Virus and Camphora 1M

From Hindi news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh claiming that a new Tomato virus is more dangerous than the novel coronavirus to Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, claiming in an interview that homeopathy medicine Camphora 1M may help in protecting from COVID-19 and should be considered for treatment.

Here's a quick round-up of fake forwards that misled the public this week.

1. TV9 Bharatvarsh Falsely Claims Tomato Virus Worse Than COVID-19

On 13 May, Hindi news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh aired a news report about a virus that has been reported by tomato farmers in Maharashtra. The report said that this virus, named ‘Tiranga virus’, was more dangerous than the prevailing coronavirus and that it was being said that this was a new version of coronavirus which was mixed in vegetables.

The Quint spoke to leading virologists and health experts who debunked the claim and told us that plant viruses don’t infect humans.

You can read the full story here.

Also Read: Old Video Resurfaces, Claims to Show Saudi Mall Post Lockdown

2. ‘Plandemic’ – 26-Min Film on COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Debunked

On 4 May, a 26-minute video called ‘Plandemic’, centred around the COVID-19 pandemic, went online and entered its journey to social media virality.

Uploaded on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and a website set up for the purpose of sharing the video, the polished, professional-looking ‘Plandemic’, featuring a scientist by the name of Judy Mikovits and created by filmmaker Mikki Willis (who doubles as the interviewer) soon made its way to the attention of mainstream media, after having completed its sojourn of conspiracy theory groups.

The video has now been taken down by Facebook, YouTube and video-sharing platform Vimeo for violating their misinformation policy.

You can read the full story here.

3. Old Image Shared as Priyanka Gandhi’s Buses for Migrants in UP

Several social media users including Deepak Bhati Chotiwala, national secretary at Indian Youth Congress, shared an image claiming that it shows 1,000 buses arranged by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi for migrants in Uttar Pradesh.

You can view the archived version here.

However, the image is actually from February 2019, when the UP government created a Guinness world record by rolling out a fleet of 503 buses in Kumbh Mela held in Prayagraj.

News agency ANI had then tweeted the viral image mentioning the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation’s (UPSRTC) attempt of setting the Guinness record for the longest fleet of buses (500) in Prayagraj’s Kumbh Mela held in 2019.

The official website of Guinness World Records, too, corroborated the aforementioned details.

Several other news organisations including The Quint, Financial Express and Times Now had carried the image in 2019 with the same context.

You can read the full story here.

Also Read: Old Video From B’desh Shared as Rohingya Beating Hindus in Bengal

4. Can Camphora 1M Provide Prevention and Treatment for COVID-19?

Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, recently claimed in an interview that homeopathy medicine Camphora 1M may help in protecting from COVID-19 and should be considered for treatment.

He further said that "3 lakh people in Pune took Camphora 1M, and not one of them has come to us saying they have symptoms of COVID-19".

In an interview with Boom, director general of Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, Dr Anil Khurana had said, "The Camphor that Dr Sankaran advised to Rajiv Bajaj, Dr Sankaran is working in Prana Hospital run by Rajiv Bajaj. He actually treated few cases in Iran, he himself did not treat, he suggested medicine to some doctor in Iran. And those were the cases who were actually suffering and were hospitalised, they were also taking antiviral drugs at that point of time. And I have seen those case records, there is no denying that Camphor might have helped them because I cannot right now conclude with just 8-11 cases that this medicine has worked. We have to have a big sample size and there should be a control group on the other side."

A homeopathy expert in Delhi told Quint FIT, "The data used is doubtful. All claimed cures were either untested or also treated with allopathy including hospitalisation and ventilator use. As such, basing a protective effect on this information is dangerous."

You can read the full story here.

Also Read: Sambit Patra Accuses Cong of ‘Bus Fraud’, But Gets His Facts Wrong

5. Video From Pak Shared as ‘Muslims Flouting Norms in Hyderabad’

A video which shows a sea of people in a market place flouting social distancing norms is being shared on social media with a claim that the video is from India. There are different claims with the message, with one of them identifying the video from Hyderabad.

The message with the video claims that Muslims in Hyderabad have come out to shop as the government has relaxed the lockdown norms.

An archived version of the post can be seen here.

On dividing the video into several keyframes and then conducting a reverse image search, we came across a few tweets which mentioned that the video is from Faisalabad in Pakistan. One of the tweets was from 19 May and the other was posted on 21 May.

We also noticed a board written in Urdu which read ‘Aini shoes’ which is a shop in ‘New Anarkali Bazaar’.

Although we were not able to find any verified news report of the incident, but it is evident from the above provided proof that the video is from Pakistan and not India.

You can read the full story here.

Also Read: Randeep Surjewala Shares an Old Picture From Nepal as ‘New India’

You can read all our coronavirus fact-checks here.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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