In the past couple of months, the coronavirus outbreak has spread paranoia around. People have been looking up ways to prevent the virus from infecting them and the overflow of misinformation has spread faster than ever. In order to prevent panic and accelerate public liaison, here are 5 things to keep in mind and practice while managing epidemics to avoid the spread of false news and rumors.
1. Spread authentic Information
Communicators should show that they and the epidemic administrators are responsible for their words and actions. Public trust that the government or organization works solely to ensure their safety may affect enforcement with prescribed control measures. The news should be verified and rechecked before putting it out there to the general public.
2. Be candid
Authorities ‘ reports to the public must include clear detail on threats, incidents, and actions and should show what is understood and not known at a given time. Publicize the situation as quickly as possible, even if the data were incomplete as this will minimize rumors. Communication of disaster danger should be a key strategic position global and regional emergency preparedness and response.
3. Facilitate community engagement
Community involvement is an essential step to aid the spread of awareness and to promote behavioral changes and practices. Efforts should be made to ensure the interventions are collaborative, appropriate to the context so that the community feels like a part of the decision-making process.
4. Promoting realistic actions
While putting out preventive measures, the communicator needs to make sure that it is easily applicable. If the action seems reasonable enough the chance of public co-operation is greater. Messages should promote particular actions people can
really take to safeguard their health. Make information and communication processes specific to the needs of consumers and includes local stakeholders to maintain information flow across sectors
5. Ask for feedback
It will help understand the public take on the situation and what concerns them. feedback can be collected through online polls, surveys, discussions, etc. Social media, today, is the best tool that passes as a feedback system. It should be used during an incident to communicate with the public, promote peer-to-peer contact, build situational awareness, track and answer to news, citizen opinions and complaints, and encourage responses at the local level. Social and traditional media should be part of an interconnected approach with other means of communication so that confirmed, reliable information converges.