A video claiming that the Nepal government has issued a lockdown notification effective throughout the country from Tuesday, November 30, is viral on TikTok. However, a fact check by Newschecker has found that the video was used out of context and doesn’t specify the reason behind enforcing the lockdown decision.
Texts on the video read, “The lockdown notice issued by the government effective across the country since 6 am on Tuesday.” The audio of the news further claims that the government has ordered the general public to stay inside their homes for a week.
The Tiktok video first posted on November 27 has been liked 122k times, shared 8735 times, and 3497 Tiktok users have commented until we published this article.
The viral video comes amid fears of the spread of the new potentially more contagious variant of coronavirus, named as Omicron.
The variant first identified in South Africa has prompted a fresh round of travel restrictions across the world and the World Health Organization on Friday designated the strain as a variant of concern. People are more likely to be misled by the news in the wake of growing concerns over the spread of the new strain or variant of the Ccoronavirus spreading across the globe.
Taking into account these concerns, the Nepal government has directed the Department of Immigration, Tribhuvan International Airport office and administration offices of districts bordering India not to issue visas on arrival to people coming from African countries. But the government has not made any decision regarding enforcing a lockdown to contain the spread of the virus.
Fact Check Verification
Newschecker did a fact-check to establish the truth behind the viral video. The video carried the logo of Nepal Channel Live, a Youtube channel of a local online portal. We ran a keyword search for “lockdown Nepal Live Channel” which led us to a news video by Nepal Live Channel published on March 24, 2020 when the country went into lockdown for the first time. Countries around the world had started enforcing lockdowns as containment measures to check the spread of the virus after the WHO declared the Covid-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020.
We found that the TikTok video was fabricated to spread misinformation and create mass panic as the news of the discovery of a new variant of coronavirus has raised the alarm across the world.
Our fact check discovered that the audio from the Nepal Live Channel has been used by 85 other videos to spread misinformation amid global concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant.
We came across another news report published in The Kathmandu Post on March 23, 2020, whose headline read, “Nepal goes under lockdown for a week starting 6am Tuesday,” which further substantiated our supposition that an old news clip has been used out of context to spread misinformation.
The video shared as the government decision to put in place the lockdown order remained effective on Tuesday was a March 2020 news clip shared out of context.