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Friday, October 23, 2020

Corona Card Fraud: Another Scam Emerges In The Wake Of COVID-19

These fake cards are available with attractive and fancy names like ‘Go Corona,’ ‘Virus Shut Out,’ and ‘Block Corona.’

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Smita Malwe
Smita Malwe
Smita is a communication enthusiast and a seasoned PR professional. She is a keen follower of Business, Technology, Politics, Healthcare; always ready to pen down engaging stories.

INDIA. NewDelhi. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, witnessed the emergence of ‘Corona Cards.’ It is being claimed that the card is capable enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if worn around the neck as an identity card.

Doctors and medical professionals have acknowledged the growing threat due to the increasing popularity of these cards which is merely a scam.

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These cards are not validated by medical governing bodies like the Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) or the World Health Organization (WHO). They have not issued any guidelines for the use of these cards claiming to prevent COVID-19.

The state government doesn’t seem to be bothered about the growing scam as there is no strict action taken to restrict the sale of these fake cards. With around 200 million inhabitants, Uttar Pradesh is the most populated state of India.

Picture Credit: Arun Mishra, Lifeline Pharmacy, Kanpur
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The Corona cards are sold widely as a protective shield to stay safe from the deadly Coronavirus. These cards are available with attractive and fancy names like ‘Go Corona,’ ‘Virus Shut Out,’ and ‘Block Corona.’ The name itself asserts that the card is used as a tool for protection against the fatal virus. Most of these cards don’t come with an expiry date and packed in a way that the user cannot identify what’s actually inside these cards.

People across cities like Lucknow and Kanpur are seen wearing these cards while moving around in herds without being fearful of encountering the deadly virus.

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Transcontinental Times reached out to some of the pharmacists and senior medical practitioners of UP to dig down the ground reality.

Arun Mishra, owner of LifeLine Pharmacy in Kanpur shared interesting insights on the subject. According to Mishra, there is an upsurge in the demand of these cards. The cards are procured in bulk for 30 rupees and are being sold at a price of 50 or 60 rupees across many medical stores in the city. While there is no information available on the cards about the product and its manufacturer, it is still gaining popularity among people. Mishra also confirmed that the substance inside these cards is white-coloured crystals and its odourless. 

Prashant Rajput, another medicine supplier in Lucknow told Transcontinental Times that they are selling more than 50 cards on a daily basis and the majority of people buying these cards are buying it for their families too.

Dr. Arun Kumar, Nephrologist at Apollo Medics Hospital, Lucknow strongly raised his concerns over this product. According to Dr. Kumar, there is no medical research available that supports the claim that these cards can protect people from getting infected. “It can be dangerous for people to believe in such products and stop taking the required precautions to avoid getting infected,” he added. Dr. Kumar also shared that a similar kind of card was gifted to him by a well-wisher who insisted him to use it for protection from the virus. Dr. Kumar also learned it from some of his patients that they have been using these cards for the last few months to stay secured from the virus without knowing any details about the truth behind these cards.

Virus Block Out card available on E-commerce websites like Amazon.

As the death toll due to coronavirus surpassed 1 lakh mark in India, fear is instilled in the minds of people. To make the most out of this fear, many opportunists have come up with various frauds and scams to fool people. Some similar cards manufactured in China, claiming to purify air and block virus are also available on E-commerce websites. ‘Corona Cards’ is one such sharp practice happening right under the state government’s nose, showing the state government seems to have failed to curb crime on the grounds of Uttar Pradesh.

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