INDIA’S POULTRY INDUSTRY has collapsed after rumours spread on social media that eating meat was linked with catching coronavirus.
The first case of covid-19 in the country was reported in the state of Kerala, and it has since spread further, though limited testing means the exact rate of infection remains unclear.
Just under 15,000 people have been tested, leading to 182 confirmed infections and four deaths, according to the BBC.
But there is widespread panic about the virus, with posts on social media calling for consumers to switch to vegetarian-only diets.
The result has been a dramatic drop in poultry consumption and a consequent collapse in prices.
Wholesale poultry prices have more than halved in the past weeks, to 40 rupees/kg (0.45p) according to local reports.
Ali Akbar, president of the Uttar Pradesh Poultry Association, told the Times of India: “The poultry industry in the state has collapsed. Hatcheries and farms are closing down.
“While government advisory has not yet reached all, social media messages creating scare have reached all and sundry.”