Hyderabad: The Medak police have detained five persons in connection with the fake news that was doing the rounds of social media claiming that Medak MLA and former Telangana Assembly Speaker Padma Devender Reddy had tested positive for COVID-19.

In the past few months, fake news and misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have been rampant on social media. The news claiming that the MLA had tested positive and was admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad had become viral. This, however, turned out to be fake news and later the MLA clarified that she was not infected by the virus and was in good health. Following this, her staff and party workers had lodged a complaint with the Medak police seeking action against those spreading such misinformation.

The police had registered a case and started an investigation. Initial inquiries revealed that an image was first shared on a WhatsApp group by a person from Rajupalli village in the district. In turn, the members of the group had circulated it to several other groups.

The post, in Telugu, claimed that the MLA had been sick for the past three days following which samples were collected from Ms. Padma and her husband for testing. On Tuesday, the reports had revealed that she had tested positive for COVID-19 while her husband had tested negative, it claimed, adding that her family members had been placed under quarantine.

Ms. Padma condemned the fake news and asked her followers and the people of her constituency not to worry about her health. A few days ago, rumourmongers had circulated a morphed image claiming that Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had tested COVID-positive and had succumbed to the virus.

Meanwhile, three TRS MLAs have tested positive for the virus.

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