The authorities at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Friday sought the personal details of all administrators of the hospital’s internal WhatsApp groups, claiming it was a measure to curb the spread of fake news about the coronavirus on social media, the Hindustan Times reported.

According to the circular issued by Dr Prem Kumar, the additional superintendent, on Friday, the staff of the Vardhman Mahavir Medical College attached to the Safdarjang Hospital will also have to submit their their names, email ids and mobile numbers to the hospital staff.

“This is required to prevent spreading of any fake news, rumor, or any other adverse comments or statements on social media and in the institution by any hospital or college staff,” the circular stated. “Therefore you are requested to submit names, mobile numbers, email of all admin of WhatsApp groups pertaining to hospital staff in the office.”

Doctors at the Safdarjung hospital said the decision was taken to stop the spread of rumours such as hospital staff members testing positive for the coronavirus.

“This was done to quell fake news,” Dr Manish Kumar, president of the resident doctors’ association told the newspaper. “There have been rumours about hospital doctors and staff testing positive, which creates panic.”

The doctor also referred to a recent fake circular claiming salaries of doctors will be deducted that was circulated on social media.“We had written to the authorities in response to that and were told that the order is fake,” he said.

The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 2,902, with 68 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Union health ministry. Of these, 2,650 Covid-19 cases are still active and 55 people are foreign nationals. As many as 183 people have recovered while one person migrated.

The toll rose to 68 on Saturday morning after six new deaths – three from Maharashtra, two in Delhi and one from Gujarat – were reported.

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