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COVID-19: Citizens warned against spreading unverified information

By Mbali Tshabangu

Zimbabweans have been warned against posting false or unverified information on coronavirus during the 21-day lockdown.

Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) Zimbabwe country director Sibusisiwe Marunda said posting of unverified information causes unnecessary anxiety on people.

“Do not just forward things that you are not sure about because that affects the psychosocial wellbeing of some people. Some messages are promoting stigma and discrimination, these are all things that can block our success in terms of fighting Covid-19 if we are not careful,” said Ms Marunda.

Ms Marunda says the power is in every citizen to protect each other from the spread of unverified information.

She encouraged people to get information on coronavirus from verified sources such as the Ministry of Health and Child Care and United Nations Agencies such as the World Health Organisation.

Marunda said psychosocial support is important during this lockdown period.

Her sentiments were also echoed by the Provincial Medical Health Coordinator for Midlands province Stella Khumalo who said citizens should only get information on Covid-19 from reliable sources to reduce mental stress stemming from fake news meant to cause panic.

“A lot of fakes messages are flying around and they are causing a lot of stress to people during this time of a national lockdown, so it should be our responsibility as citizens to verify first before forwarding such kind of messages,” Mrs Khumalo.

Provincial Health Promotional Officer Rumbidzai Chimukangara also encouraged people to keep healthy by doing physical exercises and eating a good diet.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week imposed a 21-day national lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus.

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