As the new variant of coronavirus, the omicron variant, is spreading across the globe at a fast pace, so is the misinformation surrounding the virus and the government measures to contain the spread of the virus.
A fact-check by Newschecker found that the viral news clip is actually an old news clip shared out of context to spread misinformation in the wake of growing concerns over the spread of omicron variant of coronavirus.
Nepal confirmed two cases of Omicron variant on Monday (December 6) even as the new strain has been gradually spreading across the world. The new variant, designated as the strain of concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO), was first detected in South Africa on November 9. The exposure of the new variant of coronavirus has spurred a fresh round of travel restrictions across the world.
Against this backdrop, an audio clip claiming that the Nepal government will enforce a lockdown and cancel all the pre-scheduled examinations is being widely shared on TikTok. A TikTok user named News_24npllite.com shared the clip for the first time on which a superimposed Nepali text reads, “Prohibitory order not just for a week but 15 days, all exams cancelled.”
The viral video further claims that the Cabinet has endorsed the COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC)’s decision to cancel all pre scheduled exams.
The video posted on December 2 was shared 6325 times, liked 159.5k times, and 1200 users have commented until we published this article.
The video clip has obviously stoked fears among Nepali general public who have already endured months-long lockdowns and restrictions during the previous two waves of coronavirus that hit the country simultaneously in mid-October 2020, and April 2021.
Fact Check /Verification
To verify the veracity of the claim made by the video, Newschecker checked if the government has announced any restrictions measures to curb the spread of the new variant of coronavirus.
We found that the government has taken no such decisions, while the Health Ministry officials, as reported in the local media, are discussing some immediate measures like stepping up surveillance, increasing testing, making contact tracing more effective and quarantining people returning from abroad.
As the viral video contains the logo of News24 Nepal, we searched the Youtube Channel of the news outlet. The search led us to a news clip of News24 Nepal of April 27, 2021 when the country had imposed a prohibitory order after the second wave of coronavirus swept through the country. Newschecker found that the old news headline was played out of context to mislead the people as the concerns are growing over the discovery of a new variant of coronavirus.
The government has not taken any decision regarding prohibitory order and cancellation of pre-scheduled board exams. Old videos are being shared with misleading claims.