Suspicion of COVID in poultry declared false

Rumors that government of Punjab has banned poultry consumption and production after coronavirus has been found in chicken have recently een found on the loose on social media website.

The rumors was fanned by information shared on the Internet claiming that a private TV channel had broadcast it as a breaking news, accompanied by a doctored notification shared through social media and WhatsApp groups.

These reports are false.

The doctored image appears to be a notification from the government of Punjab and reads: “I am directed to draw your attention towards a very sensitive issue and order immediate blanket ban on all poultry products in your respective districts under your administration.”

Earlier, a doctored image showing “breaking news” of a private TV channel was being circulated on different WhatsApp groups which claimed that the provincial government was mulling to impose a ban on poultry due to COVID-19.

The secretary of the Punjab government’s SHC&ME Department, Nabeel A Awan, said: “There is no department in Government of Punjab with the name of Health Department. There is either Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD) or Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department (SHC&ME).”

The Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA), the Punjab government’s Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department (SHC&ME), and the spokesperson of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) have all termed such reports as fake and false.

The health and nutrition experts included University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore Vice-Chancellor Dr Javed Akram, University of Education Vice-Chancellor Professor Talat Naseer Pasha, Institute of Public Health (IPH) Dean Prof Zurfishan, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) President Prof M Ashraf Nizami, Pakistan Pediatric Association (PPA) President Prof Masood Sadiq, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians (PAFP) President Dr Tariq Mahmood, Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM) General Secretary Dr Somia Iqtidar, and Pakistan Society of Food Sciences and Technology (PSFST) General Secretary Dr M Nasir.

Fargham noted that the livestock wing of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and Poultry Research Institute, Punjab, had also already refuted the propaganda through official notifications.

“Therefore, chicken meat is healthy, nutritious, and safe for the consumers,” he said. “The chicken lovers may continue to consume chicken meat without any fear.”