On November 26, 2021, World Health Organisation declared a new variant of coronavirus, Omicron, as a variant of concern, stating that the variant poses a ‘global risk’. In this context, a news template went viral on social media claiming that following this, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Minister for School Education in Tamil Nadu, has announced closure of schools in the state.
The news template shows that it is of Tamil News Channel Sun TV and the text embedded in Tamil reads: “தமிழக மாணவர்களுக்கு முக்கியமான அறிவிப்பு! சற்றுமுன் வந்த தகவல் புதிய வகை.!! கொரோனா பரவலால் பள்ளி, கல்லூரிகள் “மீண்டும் மூடப்படும்! “அதிரடி முடிவு – அன்பில் மகேஷ்”
(English translation: Important announcement for Tamil Nadu students! New information that just came in. !! School, Colleges “Closed Again!” – Anbil Mahesh)
The link to the post can be seen here.
NewsMobile did a fact-check and found the claim to be misleading.
We searched with the keyword, ‘School closed in Tamil Nadu’, and found a report by Times Now on November 29, 2021. According to the report, schools in Chennai and 9 other districts in Tamil Nadu would remain closed due to heavy rains.
We could not find any media report suggesting that schools in Tamil Nadu will be closed due to the new COVID-19 variant.
We further found the news template was used by a YouTube channel, 12TH Pullingo on October 28, 2021, while the first case of the Omicron virus was officially reported between November 19, 2021, and November 23, 2021.
We further found a media report published by Dailythanthi on November 29, 2021. The report quoted Anbil Mahesh, who refuted the viral claim.
Thus, we can evidently state that the viral post is false and misleading.
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