Statement by Patrizia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Representative on coronavirus misinformation
Response to recent inaccurate information on COVID-19 mentioning UNICEF as the source shared among local social media groups
SKOPJE, 16 March 2020 – “In North Macedonia and around the world, people are taking necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families from coronavirus. Sound preparation, based on scientific evidence, is what is needed at this time.
“However, while many people are sharing information about the virus and how to protect against it, only some of that information is useful or reliable.
“For example, yesterday we saw information being shared widely on social media attributing UNICEF as the source. The information starts by giving advice on the use of masks and end with recommendations on gargling with warm water and salt to kill the virus in the throat. This is not true. UNICEF has not issued this information.
“We also encourage those who have reshared this information to correct their posts by deleting and informing their network that the information is not accurate and does not come from UNICEF.
“We encourage all to be vigilant and responsible when it comes to sharing information, by always checking the information comes from a trusted source, including the Ministry of Health Institute of Public Health, World Health Organization and UNICEF.
“The responsibility to protect each other includes the responsibility to make sure we share information from trusted sources. The spread of misinformation in times of health crisis makes people unprotected and susceptible to the disease, further spreading paranoia, fear and stigmatization.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.mk.