A screenshot of a purported ‘NDTV’ news report is being shared on social media claiming that the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus was spreading from poultry. This post claims that the Telangana government had notified poultry farms as a major source for the spread of the omicron virus in the state. Sharing the news report, this post asks people to avoid consuming chicken. Let’s verify the claim made in the post.
The archived version of the post can be seen here.
Claim: ‘NDTV’ report of Omicron virus spread from poultry
Fact: The photo shared in the post is a morphed one. There is no scientific evidence to confirm the COVID-19 virus spread from poultry. In 2020, when a similar rumour went viral on social media, GHMC issued a press release clarifying that not a single case of any bird being positive to coronavirus was found in India. The Telangana Government did not issue any press release notifying poultry farms as a source of spreading the omicron virus in the State. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When we searched to check whether ‘NDTV’ had published this article on their website, we could not find any. Not only on the ‘NDTV’ website, but we could not find any other news report about the omicron virus spread from farm chicken. On reverse image search of the photo using relevant keywords, we found that the photo was taken from a news article published by ‘NDTV’ on 08 May 2021. This article reported about Bird Flu detected at poultry farms in Ludhiana, Punjab. The description of the photo states, “Punjab government has notified the poultry farm as an infected area”. So, it is understood that the photo shared in the post is a morphed version of an ‘NDTV’ article that reported about the Bird Flu spread in Punjab.
In 2021, another morphed version of the same ‘NDTV’ article was circulated on social media claiming that Black Fungus was spreading from farm chicken. Those posts can be seen here and here. PIB through a tweet clarified that the ‘NDTV’ new report screenshot circulating the viral news on social media is a morphed image. In another tweet, PIB clarified that there is no record of coronavirus in broiler chicken.
When we searched to check whether the Telangana government had issued any such press release notifying poultry farms as a major source of the omicron virus spread in the state, we could not find any such notification on the Telangana Government website. We could not find a single news report about such an announcement from the Telangana government. In February 2020, when a similar rumour about Coronavirus spread from farm chicken went viral on social media, GHMC issued a press release clarifying that not a single case of any bird being positive to coronavirus was found in India. The press release can be seen below.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also stated on its website that meat products can be safely consumed if they are thoroughly cooked.
To sum it up, there is no scientific evidence of the omicron virus spread from poultry; the photo shared in the post is a morphed one.