In recent weeks, a series of false news on Covid-19 – a disease that has originated in China and that is now spreading around the entire globe – have been circulating on social media and disinformation websites. For this reason, on the 19th of February SOMA – the European Observatory against Disinformation – published an article that debunks some of the most misleading pieces of information on the virus outbreak.
The goal of that article is to increase people’s awareness of this phenomenon in order to avoid falling into the misinformation net. At the same time, citizens need to have a reliable set of sources to check information regarding the spread of the virus, to acknowledge the risks and to understand how to minimize the chances of getting infected.
That is why SOMA has decided to provide readers with a list of reliable institutional websites that are constantly monitoring the outbreak and updating their information.
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
As a starting point, we suggest that you consult the ECDC’s website – an EU agency aimed at strengthening Europe’s defenses against infectious diseases – on which you can find an entire section dedicated to Covid-19.
Here the ECDC has collected – in Q&A webpage – a series of helpful advice and information on the virus: from the steps you can take to maximize prevention to a series of suggestions for travelers. At the same time, the ECDC has created a dedicated page to report the most updated data on Covid-19 diffusion provided by the national authorities from the EU countries, as well as from the Uk, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland.
The ECDC has even developed an app that «gives you direct access to key updates and rapid risk assessments on communicable disease threats of concern to the EU on your mobile device».
However, the most important webpage created by the ECDC is probably the one named “National information resources for the public on COVID-19”. Here you can find each of the official national websites dedicated to Covid-19 for all of the countries aforementioned, as well as the national helplines to call if you live or you happen to be in one of these countries.
You can use the information reported by the ECDC together with the ones we’ve been able to collect in this document thanks to the information provided to us by a series of SOMA’s members – These are Mimikama (Austria and Germany), Delano (Luxembourg), Ellinika Hoaxes and Ekome (Greece), VostEuskadi (Spain) and University of Zagreb (Croatia).
World Health Organization (WHO)
When it comes to finding information on the global measures taken to address the spread of Covid-19, the World Health Organization’s website is the one you should rely on.
On this outlet, you can find updated information on what measures the international community is taking to tackle this global health emergency and how the contagion is unfolding globally. For instance, here you can find the statement, released on the 11th of March, from Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom regarding the decision of the WHO to classify Covid-19 as a pandemic.
Also, WHO has developed a webpage called “Myth Busters” where a series of false news and remedies to Covid-19 are debunked: from eating garlic to taking a warm bath. At the same time, the WHO provides users with a series of informative videos on the virus, as well as online courses on how to prevent, take care and plan for a possible outbreak of Covid-19 in any country.
Johns Hopkins CSSE’s tool
If you want to visualize the most updated data on the spread of the new coronavirus, we recommend you to check this dashboard created by The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (U.S.A).
As explained by CSSE, the data reported are highly reliable because they’re collected by «using regional and local health departments, namely the China CDC (CCDC), Hong Kong Department of Health, Macau Government, Taiwan CDC, European CDC (ECDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as city and state-level health authorities.»
CSSE has uploaded all of the information and data on this tool on GitHub – an opensource platform for web developers –, which means that other organizations can access it and develop similar tools. For instance, Italy has taken advantage of Johns Hopkins’s effort and has created a dashboard based on the same technology to create a visualization of the Covid-19 cases confirmed around the country. Similarly, the Lombardy region – the Italian region most affected by the virus – has developed a tracker for its own territory.
Finally, if you find yourself in a foreign country or you need to travel abroad, we suggest you check this webpage from the International Air Travel Association (IATA).
Here you can find the most updated information regarding the travel bans that are in place around the world at this point in time. Also, you can read the limitation measures that countries have put in place to reduce and manage the arrival of citizens coming or originating from the areas most affected by Covid-19.
For instance, on the 11th of March, Croatia has decided that «passengers and airline crew who have been in Hubei province in China (People’s Rep.), Heinsberg county in Germany, Iran, Italy or Daegu city and Cheongdo province in Korea (Rep.). in the past 14 days will be placed in quarantine for 14 days». Similar limitations and controls are applied by dozens of other countries around the world.
We, therefore, recommend you to check this list before deciding to fly to another country.
Written by Pagella Politica.
Organizations that have kindly provided us with information: Mimikama (Austria and Germany), Delano (Luxembourg), Ellinika Hoaxes and Ekome (Greece), VostEuskadi (Spain) and University of Zagreb (Croatia).