Transparency in Handling the Coronavirus
- 5 March 2020
The coronavirus has in effect become a pandemic, even though the World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared it as such. The disease has spread beyond its original hotspot in China and has subsequently created new hotspots in other countries, and on most continents. Despite the reassurances from specialized officials, panic among the public has grown due to the daily reporting of new cases and deaths as well as the spread of rumors.
A concerted international response is necessary to counter effectively and decisively the growing dangers posed by the coronavirus. The first step in this regard is for all countries to adhere to full transparency in their reporting and handling of the crisis. Otherwise, rumors might spread, which can cause panic in social circles. Social media platforms are a major source of such rumors.
The United Arab Emirates has handled the coronavirus with full transparency, setting an example for other countries to follow. From the beginning, the UAE has responsibly reported all suspected and confirmed cases. Doing this has prevented the spread of rumors because the impact of the virus on the country is clear to all. Meanwhile, the UAE is working hard to curb the spread of the virus, and healthcare institutions are providing the necessary care to treat the few confirmed cases.
However, it is regrettable that some countries did not initially adhere to full transparency. They failed to declare the accurate number of new cases and deaths until obliged to tell the truth, due to the increasing numbers of infected people. While other states are known to have many cases of infected people; yet they still are not reporting the real numbers.
Absolute transparency in handling the coronavirus is essential to be able to form an accurate picture of the pandemic. This would make it possible to contain, mitigate the risks of, and in time eradicate the disease. However, the lack of transparency by some countries has been counterproductive to this effort and has led to rumors that have caused panic in societies across the world.
The public should rely on only officials and experts for their information concerning the coronavirus. In this regard, media outlets have to play a major role in providing the necessary accurate information to the public.