FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Indian Politicians Not Wearing Masks During The COVID-19 Pandemic?
An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows Indian politicians not wearing face masks during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The image dates back to November 2019, before India reported its first COVID-19 case.
Multiple Facebook users have shared the image in recent days, with one commenting, “They were seen to teach a Child how to use a mask when those three are unmasked when Delhi itself is under Night Curfew due to a second wave of Covid Pandemic.” Another user said in part, “What a public display of a hypocrisy! Three adults putting mask on the child but none of them are wearing a mask.”
The picture in question shows three men, who are not wearing face coverings, seemingly helping a child put on a mask. In Delhi, people are currently required to wear face coverings in public places to help curb the spread of COVID-19, according to the Business Standard.
Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact determined the photo predates India’s first confirmed COVID-19 case. India reported its first COVID-19 case in late January 2020, according to Reuters.
India Today published the picture in a Nov. 1, 2019 article about air pollution in Delhi. Featured in the photo are New Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, as well as a third unidentified man. ThePrint also included the image in a Nov. 2, 2019 story about Kejriwal distributing anti-pollution masks to schoolchildren.
“Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia distributed pollution masks among school students at a Delhi school on Friday,” reads India Today’s 2019 caption for the picture. (RELATED: Has India’s Government Banned People From Posting About COVID-19 On Social Media?)
In recent weeks, India has seen spikes in new COVID-19 infections, NPR reported. From Jan. 3, 2020, to April 12, 2021, the country has reported over 13.5 million COVID-19 cases with some 170,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.