The voices for rationality have been passed on in the international community by international organizations, foreign governments, scholars and media outlets to inform the public what’s going on and maintain social stability amid the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus that attracted high attention.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Feb. 4 gave high credit to China’s efforts in combating the novel coronavirus, calling for international solidarity and an end to any ill-founded discrimination of the outbreak’s victims.
China has mobilized enormous resources and enormous capacity to respond, and the UN has full recognition of that effort, the UN chief noted.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also warned of the dangers posed by “spreading rumors and misinformation”. He believes that countries should clarify misinformation and keep sharing information with the WHO, and defeat this outbreak by working together in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation.
At the press conference held by the WHO Tuesday, February 4, the health organization launched an information platform of epidemic diseases which, according to WHO Director of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness Sylvie Briand, provides a new channel for enterprises, media and the public to acquire epidemic information.
Italian Ministry of Health announced on the same day that it has reached an agreement with Twitter to contain the fake news about the novel coronavirus outbreak on the social media platform. The Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, noted that they must properly mange the spreading of information and combat fake news.
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the government will release information as soon as it can, and advised people to verify relevant information with public channels such as the government’s page on social media and mainstream media.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen called on pressmen and mainstream media to report the epidemic based on truth and contain the misinformation on social media platforms. In recent days, Cambodia’s Ministry of Health has released statements, opened lectures and held press conferences to spread relevant knowledge and raise the public’s capability of identifying information.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has set up a crisis operation center to control the epidemic information about the tourism industry, so as to make immediate response and guide the public.
Mikhail Varshavski, known as “Doctor Mike” on U.S. social media, has millions of followers. He recently made a video titled The Truths About Novel Coronavirus, calling on people to look for reputable organizations to get information from. “Alert, but not anxious,” he says in the video. So far, the video has been watched 4.8 million times.
Harvard Health Publishing under Harvard Medical School recently published articles on social media to inform the public about the novel coronavirus and remind them of the importance of getting reliable information. In one of the articles, Dr. Todd Ellerin introduced in detail the symptoms of the novel coronavirus infection – something that causes the most public concern.
“In the U.S., the average person is at extremely low risk of catching this novel coronavirus. This winter, in fact, we are much more likely to get influenza B — the flu — than any other virus,” Ellerin said in the article.
Marc Van Ranst, dean of the School of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium told People’s Daily that comprehensive and precise information helps global scientists make correct judgement over the epidemic and contribute proper strategies. Chinese scientists have made huge contribution by sharing the sequencing of the novel coronavirus with the international society, he said.
The website of the American National Public Radio noted that because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.
News site VOX made a special coverage for the novel coronavirus and denied that the outbreak would turn into a global epidemic, citing WHO information. It gave a high recognition on China’s quick response to the outbreak.
The internet is spammed by misinformation, much of which is unsupported and in lack of scientific ground, said Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics, Department of Population Health at Langone Medical Center, New York University. Media and scholars play a vital role under such circumstances, the professor noted, adding that social media shall identify false information, and scholars should also share science-based views to better help people judge the situation.