Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sotto wants dedicated information agency for public nCoV updates

Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed the creation of a dedicated inter-agency information dissemination body to provide the public with wire-to-wire updates on the novel coronavirus. This came hours after news broke that the second confirmed carrier of the virus passed away on Saturday, the first case of death outside of China.

“Mabuting magkaroon ng isang information agency kung saan lahat ng datos na kailangan ng mamamayan ay madali nilang ma-a-access,” Sotto said in a statement sent to reporters.

(It would be a good idea for us to have a singular information agency where all the information that the people need is easily accessible.) The Senate president also broached the idea of holding a daily media briefing so as to allow for more consistent updates for the public.

More than just covering health-related concerns, Sotto said that such an information agency could also provide constant updates on travel restrictions, economic impacts, tourism-related issuances and local government advisories related to the health scare. The agency, he said, could be composed of members of the departments of Health, Tourism, Trade and Industry, and Finance as well as local government units for community announcements. “Abala ang ating mga health officials sa pag-control ng pagkalat ng nCoV. Mas makakabuti kung hahayaan natin silang mag-concentrate sa medical concerns ng mga pasyente,” he added.

(Our health officials are already busy containing the spread of nCoV. It would be better if we just let them be so they can concentrate on the medical concerns of the patients.) However, the DOH has already put up a page on their official website dedicated solely to providing updates on the virus.

The page, which is accessible at not only includes the department's latest updates on the 2019-nCoV as they come out but also answers frequently asked questions regarding the virus as well as advisories, infographics and prevention tips.

Additionally, it was during a DOH press briefing that details on the two confirmed carriers were disclosed. The department also regularly releases updates on its social media channels. “During this time when our country needs to deal with a global threat, we do not need false reports that tend to scare families,” the comedian-turned-senator said.

"What we need now is an official body which will be the sole source of all official information on the nCoV."