India's poultry sales decline after coronavirus rumours linked to chickens

India's poultry industry has lost 13 billion rupees ($182 million) in three weeks after speculation on social media that chickens are a cause of the spread of coronavirus, denting demand for chicken and nearly halving prices, say industry officials.
calendar icon 17 February 2020
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Millions of small poultry farmers have been hit by a sudden drop in sales. Soybean and corn producers are also being affected with prices of both the commodities used in animal feed have falling up to 8 percent in the last three weeks, reported Reuters.

While the disease has infected more than 70,000 people in China and killed at least 1,770 there, only three confirmed cases have been reported in India. However, rumours that coronavirus can be transmitted through chickens have appeared on the WhatsApp message platform in India prompting the authorities to issue a statement last week that eating chicken is safe.

The western state of Maharashtra has called for the police to act against anyone spreading the rumours.

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