Press Release
January 22, 2020

Do not panic or share fake news on coronavirus - Hontiveros asks public

Amidst reports that the new coronavirus may be present in the case of a 5 year-old boy from Wuhan, China who exhibited flu-like symptoms in Cebu City yesterday, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros reminded the public not to share unverified news so as not to sow panic.

"Health authorities are still verifying if this is the same as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)," Hontiveros said in a statement on Wednesday. The 2019-nCoV is a cousin of the SARS virus that has infected hundreds since the outbreak in Wuhan district in China in December last year. "In the meantime, I'd like to emphasize that sowing panic will be detrimental to public health," Hontiveros stressed.

The Senator reiterated health authorities' call: "I support the advise of the World Health Organization and the Department of Health against sowing public panic," said Hontiveros. "We need correct information to get to the people. Kaya huwag tayong magpakalat ng fake news," Hontiveros further advised. "I-check muna natin kung verified ang source bago natin ito i-share online," she also said.

"I am confident that our Department of Health and Bureau of Quarantine are doing their best to protect public health," the Akbayan Senator expressed. "But I ask our authorities to heighten preparation for the influx of more travelers from China due to the Lunar New Year on Saturday," he also urged.

Hontiveros also asked the government to make resources available for immediate or emergency response. "Unang-una, dapat may sapat na protective gear para sa mga nasa frontline na health and airport personnel natin. At sa pagkakataong may makalusot, resources should be readily available for a prompt response to contain the virus," she furthered.

And the public must still be vigilant, the Senator maintained. "Magsimula tayo sa ating hygiene measures: parating maghugas ng kamay at magtakip ng bibig kapag umuubo," Hontiveros concluded.

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