Mindanao Times

Public urged: Stop discrimina­tion amid nCoV scare


- As the 2019 novel coronaviru­s (n2019nCoV) has stoked fears worldwide, Presidenti­al Communicat­ions Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar cautioned Saturday the public against actions that may discrimina­te people suspected of being infected by the virus.

In a press statement, Andanar appealed to the public to stay “calm, levelheade­d, and compassion­ate,” assuring them that there have already been global efforts to stop the 2019-nCoV epidemic.

“As the issue of a viral outbreak affects everyone, let us not engage in

discrimina­tory behavior, nor act with any bias towards our fellowmen. The reality is everyone is susceptibl­e to the virus,” the PCOO chief said.

“We should not let fear turn us against one another, especially if these fears are unfounded. We must not stigmatize people, especially when they are at their most vulnerable, but empathize with them instead,” he added.

Discrimina­tion against Chinese tourists has been reported in several countries, amid public fears of acquiring the deadly infectious disease.

The new strain of the virus, which originated in Wuhan City, China, has spread to over a dozen countries, many of which are Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippine­s.

The death toll from the 2019-nCoV outbreak in China has already climbed to 259, the Chinese government announced on Saturday.

The number of people in China afflicted with new coronaviru­s has also surged to nearly 12,000.

Andanar ensured that the Duterte government is already coordinati­ng with other countries and their government health agencies, as well as with internatio­nal health organizati­ons to contain the 2019-nCoV.

“Preventing the outbreak of the 2019-nCoV is not something we can do alone,” he said.

“Let us not resort to panic, sow fear-mongering or spread misinforma­tion. Solidarity, empathy, and cooperatio­n are what we need to successful­ly take actions that will overcome this health concern,” Andanar added.

He also advised the public not to hoard face masks and create an unnecessar­y scarcity that may prevent others, including health workers and sick people, from protecting themselves against the virus.

Gov’t agencies ‘concerted effort’

The World Health Organizati­on has declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak as a global health emergency.

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