Virus 'infodemic': DOH urges Pinoys not to spread fake news on coronavirus

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2020 03:08 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2020 03:25 PM

Passengers arriving at the NAIA Terminal 1 in Parañaque City wear face masks as a precaution on January 23, 2020, as the country raises the alert to prevent the spread of an undetermined strain of the coronavirus originating from Wuhan, China. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Monday urged the public not to spread misinformation on the new coronavirus, which has claimed at least 80 lives and infected thousands.

"It’s not yet here. I call upon everyone not to be an instrument of propagation of misinformation, which we call an 'infodemic' that will do no good except create anxiety and fear in our people," he told ANC's Dateline Philippines.

At least 6 schools in Manila suspended classes on Monday following the spread of false information online about a new coronavirus case in the Philippine capital.

The Philippines does not yet have a confirmed case of the mysterious virus but authorities are monitoring 11 foreigners for possible infection, Duque earlier said.

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The health department is in touch with the World Health Organization, Chinese Ministry of Health and the Chinese Center for Disease, Duque said, following the emergence of the new strain of virus in Wuhan province last month.

"We continue to compare notes and best practices are shared and all of these are on the basis of correct, verified, credible pieces of info that we can assure that the Philippine public will be provided on a more regular basis," he said.