Saturday, May 16, 2020

Tiranga virus of tomato does it affect humans

BOOM found that there is no evidence that the virus is linked to COVID-19, or that it can be transmitted to humans
Tomato Lot

The Hindi wing of a media channel, TV9 Bharatvarsh, made false claims that an unidentified virus affecting tomato crops in Maharashtra, is a newer, and more dangerous version of Coronavirus. The Hindi channel which has since deleted its show, falsely claimed this new virus is transmitted to humans if they consume the infected tomatoes, and added that 'people would have to give up eating tomatoes for a year' The report published by TV9 Bharatvarsh on May 13, was titled, 'Tomato se tension, red virus infection?', and called the virus affecting tomatoes as 'Tiranga virus', claiming 'Tiranga virus has arrived to kill people through vegetables'. According to media reports, several farmers in districts of Maharashtra reported an early ripening of the tomato crop, just when they were ready to be harvested. This has led to yield loss for the farmer. Indian Express quoted a farmer Ajit Korade, from Satara district who said that crop that ripen early have no place in the market and is thrown away. Reports said that ''In the districts of Ahmednagar, Pune and Nashik, about 60 per cent of the crop has been decimated in the last 10 days" BOOM spoke to Ankush Chormale, an entomologist who has been actively involved in protecting the tomato crops and is studying the spread of the virus in Maharashtra, who denied that the new virus attacking tomato crops had anything to do with the coronavirus. Chormale also denied the claims made by TV9 Bharatvarsh that virus gets transmitted to human beings. The channel later took down the report from its website and social handles, following objections from entomologists and social media users, and put out an update on May 15, denying that they had made any such claims.

BOOM accessed the report published by the channel on May 13 where the anchor says there is a new virus in town and "It is being claimed that this is a new version of coronavirus". She adds that the new version is found in vegetables and all of us will be affected by it, adding that the "Tiranga virus" has taken over Maharashtra. Then a voice over in a sensational tone says, "Har kisike kitchen mein jaan leva Tiranga Virus (Deadly Tiranga Virus in everyone's kitchen)" and adds that "after Corona which has symptoms of cough, cold and sneezing, this new Tiranga virus has arrived which kill via vegetables". He then adds, "Tiranga virus has been found in a vegetable present in all kitchens - tomatoes. Without which any meal is incomplete" The channel also carried a quote by Dr. Ajit Nawale, General Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha (whose name was mislabelled in the video as Prashant Shende), where he stated that the tomato crops are under attack from an new virus across Maharashtra. He also states that the coronavirus pandemic has already ruined the distribution chain, leading to farm products rotting in the field, and this new virus shall make matters even worse for tomato producers.

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