The National Media Commission (NMC) has praised the media for showing solidarity towards the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) through its reportage.
It has however asked practitioners to maintain balance in their news items by relying on official sources for accurate information on the pandemic so as not to downplay its gravity.
General Secretary of the NMC, Mr George Sarpong, in a statement issued in Accra yesterday noted that while the media may be concerned about reducing anxiety among the public on the disease, “jokes”, must not be entertained.
“In the legitimate attempt to reduce public anxiety and provide hope in this moment of disquiet, some media have resorted to making jokes about the disease.
“While humour may have its place in reducing anxieties in moments of national stress, it also carries the risk of minimising the sense of urgency and possibly leading to complacency in public response,” he warned.
The Commission therefore reminded “the media that in a situation like this, balance still remains our greatest professional virtue and the best way to achieve that is to rely on the official sources for accurate information.”
Ghana has so far recorded 11 cases of COVID-19; all being imported cases.
The cases have come from countries including Turkey, Norway, Germany, France, United States of America, UK and the UAE.
A total of 399 contacts have so far been identified and are being followed up.
Out of the number, 19 who developed symptoms of the disease have had their samples taken for laboratory testing and 15 had proved negative.
Meanwhile, it is expected that the country would record more cases in the next two weeks as health experts say the“general theory of pandemic management is that, often, numbers are likely to go up a bit before the situation gets better.”
In that sense, authorities are bracing for the possibility of some limited recordings of more cases in the medium term but have assured that, systems have been put in place to control the pandemic and “hold this virus in check.”
About 633 cases have been recorded in over 33 African countries with many governments increasingly rolling out robust measures to halt the spread and contain the pandemic.
Seventeen deaths have so far been recorded on the continent but the World Health Organisation (WHO) suspects a higher number of undetected or unreported cases in Africa.
“And that is why we are saying we have to do the testing, we have to do the contact tracing, we have to do the isolation and cut it from the bud,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO stressed on Tuesday.
COVID-19, is a new form of coronaviruses that is associated with respiratory disorders and characterised by symptoms such as fever, sore throat, runny nose and breathing difficulties.
To prevent contracting the infection, members of the public are advised to adhere to precautionary measures including regular washing of hands with soap under running water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
“Avoid shaking of hands, keep distance of at least two metres from persons with signs of fever, cough, sneezing and difficulty in breathing, do not touch face, eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands, be physically active, drink plenty of water, eat healthy, avoid stress and have enough sleep.
“In case of suspected cases members are to call the following numbers; 0509497700, 0558439868.”
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH