'Fake and misleading': India rubbishes viral WhatsApp advisory about new XBB variant

Health ministry advises people not to believe in rumours or share unverified information

By Web Desk

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Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 5:04 PM

Last updated: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 5:22 PM

India's Ministry of Health on Thursday took to social media to call out a fake message about the XBB Covid-19 variant that has been circulating over social media groups, and has advised people not to believe it or pass it on, according to reports.

"This message is circulating in some WhatsApp groups regarding the XBB variant of Covid-19. The message is fake and misleading,” the ministry said on its official Twitter account.


The fake post says: "Everyone is advised to wear a mask because the new variant of the Covid-Omicron XBB coronavirus is different, deadly and not easy to detect correctly.

"Infected people will not get cough or have fever", but will exhibit a limited number of other symptoms such as "joint pain, headache, pain in the neck, upper back pain, pneumonia, and lack of appetite". Alarmingly, it adds: "The XBB variant is five times more virulent than the Delta variant and has a higher mortality rate than it."


In the last six months, India has reported only four cases of the BF.7 Omicron sub-variant, which is driving the current surge of infections in China, according to an ANI report.

Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Thursday issued an advisory and appealed public to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour with immediate effect.

In its advisory, the IMA listed out necessary steps to overcome the impending outbreak, including wearing face masks in all public places, maintaining social distancing and washing hands regularly with soap and water or sanitisers. It advised people to consult the doctor in case of any symptoms.

The government has also started random RT-PCR tests among the passengers arriving at International airports in the country amid the recent surge of coronavirus infection in various countries including China, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United States.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says current data does not suggest XBB is more deadly than Omicron.

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