On 11 February 2020, the World Health Organisation proposed an official name1 for the illness caused by the new coronavirus: COVID-19. Before this announcement, we have known it as the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV); a virus outbreak that emerged at the end of 2019.
Since then, we are facing an unpredictable situation that is constantly evolving. Through this Singapore has experienced many unprecedented happenings such as the stock-piling of masks and sanitisers, as well as panic-buying of essential supplies.
DO NOT spread fake news and rumours:
As concern over the coronavirus grows, fake news and scams capitalising on our innate fears are also spreading. Social media can be harnessed as a powerful tool for educating and debunking myths. However, according to a MIT study2, false news is 70% more likely to be retweeted than true stories, with truth traveling six times slower than falsehood.
In a move to curb the spread of misinformation, Singapore has invoked its fake news law instructing Facebook, its users and publications to carry correction notices about posts and articles allegedly containing falsehoods about the coronavirus.3
DO get information from verified sources:
On 7 February 2020, a screenshot of a fake CNA tweet4 was circulated widely, claiming that all schools would close from the next Monday due to the outbreak. The story was nowhere to be found on the website and the fake tweet was promptly debunked on that day.
When in doubt, DO NOT circulate screengrabs and unverified news. DO make the effort and take time to evaluate information before sharing it. You can visit the actual websites of reputable news outlets to verify the authenticity. For updates on the evolving situation, monitor the news via www.moh.gov.sg and Gov.sg WhatsApp.
DO stay positive and play your own part:
Each of us can contribute and help by being socially responsible and practising good personal hygiene habits. It is well advised that you should wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If you feel unwell, you should wear a mask and seek medical attention immediately.
Safeguard yourself from the spread of the virus by taking the necessary precautionary measures. Furthermore, you should also protect your loved ones from unexpected storms with the foresight of good Life Planning. We are here for you, and let’s overcome the challenges together!