With surging COVID-19 cases across India, there is growing concern in neighbouring Nepal about possible surge in cases in the Himalayan nation driven by the upswing in cases in the neighbouring country. In this context, a video announcing a government decision to shut schools across Nepal until May 16 to contain a possible spike of coronavirus is going viral among Nepali TikTok users. Newschecker found that the viral clip is old.
Health experts in Nepal are sounding caution over growing COVID cases in India given the massive cross-border movement at several points along the 1800-km open border between the two countries.
TikTok user @bhimsen_bhai_9076 posted a video that carried the text “Schools across the country will be closed from Baisakh 6 [April 19, 2022] to Jeth 2 [May 16, 2022]. The schools will conduct online classes till then.”
The voice over can be heard announcing that “Schools across the country are going to be shut down. The Ministry of Health has recommended shutting down schools after a rapid surge in COVID-19 infections.”
The video posted on April 20 has garnered 6986 likes, and 428 users have shared it.
Another video posted by the same user shows a notice directing the closure of community schools issued by Madhav Narayan Municipality, Rautahat. The video also repeats similar claims and carries the same voice over.
The video has garnered 2048 likes, and 124 shares so far.
Fact Check /Verification
To check the authenticity of the claim, Newschecker checked the latest data on Covid-19 infection in Nepal from the Ministry of Health and Population. The official data published on the verified social media pages of the Ministry on April 21 states that 15 new cases of Covid-19 were detected from 3,547 samples tested in the past 24 hours.
We also found a notice issued by the ministry, calling on the people above the age of 18 to visit nearby vaccination centres to receive the Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots.
Talking to Newschecker, Assistant Information Officer at the Ministry of Health and Population, Ganesh Shreevastav said that all the latest decisions made by the ministry have been updated on its social media pages.
However, on scanning the social media pages of the health ministry, we found no notice or recommendation regarding closure of schools and resumption of online classes as claimed in the video.
Further, we closely analysed the notice used in the viral video, purportedly issued by Madhav Narayan Municipality, Rautahat, and noticed that the date January 4, 2022 on the right corner, indicating that the notice was old.
Our findings make it clear that neither the Covid-19 infections surged in Nepal, nor did the government make any decision to shut down schools as claimed in the video.
An old news clip from April 2021, ahead of the second wave of Covid-19 is being shared out of context to claim that schools would be shut due to the threat posed by coronavirus infections.