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COVID-19 public health campaign to stop misinformation

Nick Dalziel

11 March, 2020

Image: The campaign will include hygiene information to limit the spread of COVID-19

Healthcare professionals and medical researchers have welcomed the announcement of Australian Government funding for a COVID-19 public health campaign as an opportunity to halt the spread of misinformation regarding the virus.

The $30 million campaign, announced as part of a wider package to mitigate the impact of coronavirus in Australia, will include information on limiting the spread of COVID-19 and what to do if symptoms develop.

Burnet Institute Head, Public Health, Professor Mark Stoové, told the ABC the campaign would be important in clearing up inconsistent information.

“There has been a range of mixed messages emerging from different stakeholders, different health professionals, politicians,” Professor Stoové said.

“It’s really important from a public health and prevention perspective that the messages to get out are factual, evidence-based and consistent and I think that’s one of the issues that governments have been grappling with recently.”

Professor Stoové said the scale of the public health challenge was unprecedented in Australia, and that it was important that information from the Government did not induce panic.

“A consistent and steady public health messaging campaign can do a lot in alleviating anxiety in the community that can be unfounded or not necessarily based on fact,” he said.

“So we really do need some calm messaging that goes out, that comes from government, and comes from public health officials, that is trusted.”

The $30 million advertising campaign forms part of a wider Federal Government package to protect Australians against COVID-19, which will also include setting up dedicated respiratory clinics around the country.

Read more about Burnet’s work on COVID-19.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Mark A Stoové

Head of Public Health Discipline

Telephone

+61385062301

Email

[email protected]

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