Calling the circulation of rumours about animals spreading Covid-19 a "classic example of spreading misinformation, disinformation, distorted information," Dr Chandrakant Pandav, head, Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS, Delhi, said that this was totally wrong and he considers it a "crime".
Speaking to ANI, Dr Pandav said that all medical institutes in the world have stated that "There is no evidence that dogs and cats are transmitting or are being affected by Covid-19."
Asked about rumours that pets can spread Covid-19, he said, "This news is totally wrong. This is a classic example of spreading misinformation, disinformation, distorted information. I think it is a crime. For me, I consider it as a crime to spread this wrong information."
He added, "Unfortunately, like everything else in life, it's a double-edged sword. So, social media can be used for good purpose as well as for bad purpose... So, I think we have to change our mindset in terms of how we transmit and communicate the news to people. This is a very serious lapse, it should be made a criminal offence if somebody spreads this particular news."
Dr Pandav said that there was "evidence from the best institutions in the world" that Covid-19 is "not transmitted from animals to human beings."
"In fact, they should be afraid of us, right now we are carrying the virus. My concern is about the invisible transmitters, those people who are infected... We must make extremely aggressive efforts to locate them. We have to search them because they are the ones spreading the virus," he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on March 24 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as a precautionary measure to control the spread of Covid-19.
The ministry of health and family welfare on Friday informed that India's total number of Covid-19 positive cases now stands at 6,412. Out of these, 5,709 are active patients and 504 of them have been cured/discharged and migrated.
With 30 new deaths reported in the last 12 hours, the death toll has reached 199.