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Home Ministry calls out Reuters’ misleading report claiming Army has taken over COVID-19 facilities in Delhi, says ‘The news is far away from reality’

On June 24, 2020, International news organisation–Reuters published a news claiming Army was called in by the government to take control of COVID-19 facilities in Delhi

The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a clarification with regards to a factually incorrect article published in the International news organisation Reuters which said that the Indian Army took over the control of COVID-19 facilities in Delhi as the number of caseloads surged uncontrollably. Refuting the allegations levelled in the article, the Spokesman of the Ministry of Home Affairs posted a tweet, saying the news is ‘far away from reality’.

The official Twitter account of the Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs, tweeted that Army has not been called in and only medical personnel of Armed Forces and Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) had been asked to assist at some medical facilities in the national capital.

The clarification from the Ministry of Home Affairs came on the heels of an article titled-“India calls in army to run facilities in Delhi as cases surge” published on Reuters asserted that the coronavirus situation in India’s capital New Delhi is so dire that the Armed Forces of the country have been summoned to take control of the COVID-19 facilities in the city.

Source: Reuters

The article published in Reuters contended that the COVID-19 cases in the country are precipitously increasing and that the government had called in army to manage new treatment centres with thousands of additional hospital beds in New Delhi.

The article also quoted Union Home Minister Amit Shah to lend credence to their misguided belief that the Armed Forces will assume the total control of COVID-19 facilities in the national capital. “Armed Forces personnel have been detailed for providing medical care and attention to COVID-19 patients housed in the Railway coaches in Delhi,” the article quoted Home Minister Amit Shah as saying.

Reuters’ unverified claims about Indian Army managing the medical facilities in Delhi was picked up by several Indian and International Media organisations to assert that the Indian capital is so much overwhelmed by the coronavirus caseloads that the control of the medical facilities has been wrenched from the civilian authorities and handed over to the Armed Forces.

Pakistani news daily—Dawn also published the report crediting Reuters that the Indian government has asked the Army to preside over the administration of medical facilities in Delhi.

Source: Dawn

The US News and World Report, another International media organisation which carried the Reuters’ report alleged that the coronavirus situation in Delhi is so grim that Army is being called in to contain the irrepressible rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the national capital.

Source: US News and World Report

Not just International media organisations but Indian organisations also published the report without checking the veracity of the claims made by Reuters. The Essel Group owned India based news organisation— Wion put out a story saying that the Indian Army was called in by the government to run facilities in Delhi as the coronavirus cases saw a spike in the national capital.

Source: The Wion

Coronavirus outbreak in Delhi

The number of COVID-19 cases in India’s capital, New Delhi has risen sharply over the past few weeks as the number of confirmed infections touched the 70,000-mark while 2,365 have reportedly died of the contagion. However, soon after Delhi started reporting a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took the driver seat to rollout a synergised strategy to curb the spread of the infection.

Taking charge of the coronavirus situation in Delhi, Shah called an all-party meet and took stock of the situation by visiting the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital. The Home Minister took charge of the situation after the Supreme Court pulled up the Delhi government for its abysmal handling of the coronavirus crisis and called the situation in the national capital as scary.

To tackle the increasing surge in the count of coronavirus cases, Amit Shah ordered a makeshift facility at Radha Soami Satsang Beas in south Delhi’s Chhatarpur, which is set to be the biggest Covid-19 temporary hospital in India with over 10,000 beds. The medical facility is set to be operational from today. This temporary facility has been handed over to ITBP for operation, but the other health facilities in the city remain under civilian control.

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