On Wednesday (29 January), the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) took to its official Facebook page to request Singaporeans to stop themselves from manufacturing fake news and spread rumours regarding the deadly Wuhan coronavirus that’s happening in Singapore and other parts of the world.
“The SDP calls on Singaporeans to refrain from manufacturing fake news and spreading rumours about the Coronavirus that is transmitting in Singapore and around the world,” it said.
It added, “Alarming the public through such misinformation only harms our community and ourselves.
The Party explained that people should “double check the sources of such posts” and “verify that they are from reliable sources before passing on and sharing them”.
If that’s not all, they can also opt to perform a quick search on the Internet to ensure the veracity of the information, the opposition party said.
“It is important that we do our utmost at this time to cooperate with the authorities to bring the situation under control and to minimise and even stop the virus from further spreading,” it noted.
It continued, “We also commend efforts of the authorities in promptly notifying the public of confirmed cases and their contact histories. It is important that the public continues to receive timely and detailed information on cases under surveillance. This will an effective way to reduce rumours from proliferating.”
On Monday (27 Jan), the Ministry of Health issued a general correction direction under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) against the online forum HardwareZone and its operation SPH Magazine over a post made by a user who said claimed someone had died from the novel coronavirus.
Yesterday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan issued a targeted correction direction under POFMA to Facebook over two posts made on the platform which the ministry says contains falsehoods claiming that the Woodlands MRT station was closed in order to be disinfection following a suspect case of the virus.
Besides SDP, other opposition parties have also come forward to voice their point of view over the virus.
Workers’ Party (WP) said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it gives its full support during this “trying period” to the multi-ministry taskforce set up by the government to consolidate efforts in containing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore and overseas.
The Party described the outbreak as “serious and concerning”, urging the public to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions to stay safe.
The WP said, “We have to stay united, and heed instructions given by the various ministries, especially that from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Manpower, and the Ministry of Education.”
“Most importantly, we urge everyone to remain calm, and not to give in to fear mongering by speculating or spreading rumours online,” it added.
Separately, the Secretary-General of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Dr Tan Cheng Bock said on Wednesday that we need to work together regardless of political affiliations to deal with this national issue of the Wuhan virus in Singapore.
In a Facebook post about the virus, Dr Tan urged everyone in Singapore to be more vigilant by paying attention to personal hygiene, avoiding crowded places, and using masks.
He also urged those who were not feeling well to stay at home and see a doctor if they have unresolved symptoms like fever, cough, or diarrhoea.
Besides that, he advised people to keep an eye out for news from the Ministry of Health (MOH), adding that they should be discreet about news relating to the virus from outside sources.
Dr Tan said, “This is a national issue. We must work together regardless of political affiliations. All of us should join forces with MOH and other government agencies to combat this virus.”