No, Armed Forces Haven’t Set Up a COVID Centre Near Mumbai Airport
PRO Defence Mumbai has called the viral message on COVID hospital being set up near Mumbai airport “fake news.”
A viral message falsely claimed that the armed forces have set up a 1,000-bed facility for coronavirus patients near Maharashtra’s Mumbai airport’s Terminal 1.
However, we found that the same message was also being shared as a Delhi facility. In the national capital, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has set up a 250- to 500-bed COVID hospital in the Delhi Cantonment area.
Further, PRO Defence Mumbai has called the viral message claiming that a COVID facility has been set up near the Mumbai airport “fake news.”
The viral message mentioned that the facility is “very close to domestic airport T1” in Mumbai. “Manned by critical care specialists, pulmonologists, doctors and nursing officers of the Indian Armed Forces,” the message added.
WHAT WE FOUND
We found that the same message was also being shared to claim that the said COVID facility is in New Delhi. On comparing the two messages, we found that the content was very similar.
The viral message mentions the address as “next to Raksha Sampada Bhavan”, which is situated in Delhi and not Mumbai.
We came across a Times of India article from June 2020 that mentioned that Home Minister Amit Shah had then said that a 1,000-bed hospital would be built in Delhi by DRDO and Tata Trust for COVID patients.
Further, an officer had then told the publication that the said facility would be situated “behind the office of the Controller General of Defence Accounts/Raksha Sampada Bhavan, which is not too far from the airport.”
An article published on All India Radio on 18 April mentioned that Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) reopened its Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel COVID Hospital in Delhi Cantonment area after it was shut down in the first week on February as the daily COVID cases decreased.
Another All India Radio article published on 19 April stated that the facility that has been re-established near Delhi’s domestic airport terminal will be looked after by the medical team drawn from the armed forces.
On 24 April, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the DRDO would be adding another 250 beds to the facility, taking the total numbers of beds to 500.
‘FAKE NEWS’: DEFENCE MINISTRY CALLS OUT VIRAL MESSAGE
“Nothing on this major scale of 1,000-bed COVID facility in Mumbai is being planned by the defence ministry at the moment,” a source in the defence ministry told The Quint.
Further, the official handle of PRO Defence Mumbai called out the viral message and said that it “has no basis and is fake news.”
Regarding the efforts being made by the armed forces, the Indian Navy has kept a few COVID oxygen beds ready in its hospitals so that they can be used by the civil administration, India Today reported. These hospitals under the Western Naval Command include INHS, Goa, INHS Patanjali, Karwar, and INHS Sandhani, Mumbai.
Evidently, the viral message falsely claimed that a COVID facility was set up by the armed forces near the Mumbai airport.
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