Google on Friday (Jan 31) made looking for reliable information about the Wuhan coronavirus a little bit easier by activating an SOS alert that shows you resources and the latest updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Searching for “coronavirus” will display a special results page.
This page shows top stories from major news publications such as BBC News and The New York Times, as well as Twitter updates by WHO and its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
There is also a “help and information” panel with links to WHO’s articles about coronavirus advisory information, condition overview of the outbreak, and a FAQ page.
Google also displays “safety tips” provided by WHO such as avoiding unprotected contact with live animals, and washing your hands frequently.
Today we launched an SOS Alert w/ @WHO, to make resources about #coronavirus easily accessible. When people search for related info on @Google, they’ll find the alert atop results page w/ direct access to safety tips, info, resources & Twitter updates from WHO.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) January 30, 2020
Google said it gets the content for SOS alerts “from government agencies, first responders, trusted media outlets, and non-governmental organisations“. It also aggregates information from other Google services such as Google News, Google Maps, and Waze.
The tech giant added that updates from local, national, or international authorities will depend on the “nature of the crisis” and your location.
The WHO had earlier declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency on Thursday (Jan 30). At the moment, there are a total of 9,776 confirmed cases and 213 deaths according to John Hopkins University’s online dashboard.
Misinformation spreading online recently
Misinformation on the virus has been spreading online in Singapore recently. The Ministry of Communications and Information will lift exemptions to the fake news law in Singapore.
Previously, Internet intermediaries like Google, Facebook, and Twitter were temporarily exempted from complying with general correction directions under the fake news law.
The Straits Times reported that a general correction direction can be issued to prescribed Internet intermediaries to get them to communicate, publish, broadcast or transmit a correction notice to all users in Singapore.
The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Act Office has issued four correction directions relating to the Wuhan virus so far.
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