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UP: TOI journalist fear-mongers, insinuates that disinfectant spray is ‘chemical solution’ to kill humans

The disinfectant does not harm people as such. However, the journalist with Times of India gave the impression that the authorities were jeopardizing the health of the migrant labourers.

While the world struggles to combat the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic, it was expected that the mainstream media at least now would set aside their political partisanship and strive hard to cover the events objectively. However, that hasn’t been the case yet and it appears that things are unlikely to improve anytime soon. Even as Wuhan Coronavirus poses a severe threat to the safety and security of the country, journalists continue to engage in fearmongering and rumour-mongering to undermine the efforts being made by the central and state governments.

On Monday, Kanwardeep Singh, a journalist with Times of India, shared a video of Uttar Pradesh Police spraying people with disinfectants in the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic. He suggested that the people were being showered with toxic chemical substances that could potentially kill them. He said, “Who r u trying to kill, Corona or humans? Migrant labourers and their families were forced to take bath in chemical solution upon their entry in Bareilly.”

Via Twitter

In the video, it could be seen that people wearing hazmat suits were spraying disinfectant on the migrant labourers who had returned to Uttar Pradesh from elsewhere. The objective of the disinfectants is to kill the virus if it were present in the clothes of the individuals. The disinfectant does not harm people as such. However, the journalist with Times of India gave the impression that the authorities were jeopardizing the health of the migrant labourers.

A casual glimpse through the internet provides numerous pictures from abroad where authorities use a similar procedure for people arriving from elsewhere. One such photo shared in a Reuters report from the 2nd of February shows medical officers spray Indonesian nationals arriving from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the pandemic, with the antiseptic spray.

Source: Reuters

China has constructed ‘disinfectant tunnels‘ for people to walk through which supposedly kills 99% of the viruses. It’s part of China’s wide-ranged efforts towards combating the crisis within its own territory. The tunnels apparently sanitize people within 2 seconds. The tunnels are equipped with infrared detectors that activate the spray when a person walks in.

Source: Reuters

There are also other images available on the internet from other countries such as Philippines where antiseptic solution is sprayed on crowded places with people present in order to disinfect the environment. These solutions, quite obviously, pose no threat to the health of people.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – MARCH 11: A disinfection worker sprays anti-septic solution against COVID-19 aboard a firetruck along a street on March 11, 2020 in Manila, Philippines. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday declared a state of public health emergency as the number of people infected with COVID-19 in the country rose to 33 from just 3 cases last week. With over 115,000 confirmed cases around the world, the coronavirus has so far claimed over 4,000 lives. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

In fact, closer home in India, too, disinfectants were sprayed on people.

The tweet by the Times of India journalist is quite clearly directed towards inducing panic among people and inspire in them a distrust towards the authorities. In times of a pandemic, it is essential that citizens do not start doubting necessary tasks being carried out by the authorities. However, the journalist in his infinite wisdom appears to believe that now is a good time to engage in rumour-mongering and thereby, jeopardize the safety and security of millions of people.

After the video went viral on social media, Bareilly District Magistrate took to Twitter to clarify that the administration was asked to disinfect buses but ended up using the same on passengers as well.

An ‘action’ against those responsible has been ordered by the DM. It is still not clear if the ‘action’ has been ordered by DM due to apparent ‘demeaning’ step of making them squat on ground, or whether the chemicals were inappropriate, because that doesn’t appear to be the case. He further clarified that such mass disinfecting method is being used worldwide.

“However, while carrying it out, we should have taken care of safety and made sure people are not inconvenienced,” he tweeted.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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