By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday stressed the importance of timely and accurate information from the government on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Poe, in a statement, urged the Philippine government to issue daily official bulletins containing the latest information about the 2019-nCoV which has already affected thousands in several countries.
“Up-to-date, transparent, and correct information about the nCoV virus is vital,” she said.
The senator said a massive information campaign should be sustained to make the public aware on how to prevent being infected by the virus, or when to undergo quarantine, where to go for check-up, and what to do in case one has contact with a suspected case.
“This can be through brochures, comics, electronic billboards, or online, among others,” she suggested.
Poe said such move would curb misinformation and “fake news” being spread amid rising concerns over the 2019-nCoV, especially online.
“Arming the people with the right information will not leave any space for fake news, misinformation, and speculations, which, if left unchecked, can spread like a deadly virus,” she said.
The Department of Health on Sunday reported that a 44-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan, China died due to the new coronavirus strain. This was the first 2019-nCoV death recorded outside of China.
In China, where the virus originated from, there have been 425 deaths as of February 4 and 17, 391 confirmed cases worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier declared a global health emergency due to the spread of the 2019-nCoV.