As medical practitioners race against time to contain the spread of the new coronavirus from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the country’s leaders have defended its credibility in the face of widespread scepticism about its commitment to transparency. Senior Lecturer and Professor of Practice at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Prof Donald Low comments that China’s efforts to maintain transparency on its handling of the Wuhan virus sounds “more progressive and enlightened” than Singapore’s stance on labour statistics. The reason transparency was brought up with regards to the Wuhan virus in China was because of China’s poor handling of the SARS outbreak back in 2002 and 2003. “Only by making information public can we reduce public fear,” he says in an opinion piece. “People don’t live in a vacuum and we will only provide a breeding ground for rumours to grow if we keep them in the dark and strip them of their right to know the truth.” He stressed that transparency remained the best defence against rumours and public panic.
Read his opinion piece published on 22 Jan on The Online Citizen.