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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today said that media practitioners are the “vaccine” needed to combat misinformation and disinformation related to Covid-19, saying false information on the pandemic is as big a challenge as treating it.
“What’s also important now is us trying to handle, or vaccinate against fake news, where to [debunk] viral fake news, we rely on our friends in the media.
“You are our vaccine actually, with regard to fake news,” the health director-general said in a teleconference session, referring to the media.
Others present included the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) Virology unit chief Dr Ravindran Thayan, Sungai Buloh National Public Health Laboratory director Dr Hani Hussin, and Sungai Buloh Hospital’s Infectious Disease Department head Datuk Dr C. Suresh Kumar.
Today’s three-hour session, according to Dr Noor Hisham, is part of the ministry’s efforts at channelling accurate information to the public amid misinformation that often gets spread quickly.
“There are even people writing letters saying I am going to resign, et cetera. I am here to serve the people,” he exclaimed.
Dr Noor Hisham said this when he was asked to comment on issues other than clinical ones that the Health Ministry is facing.
Recently, the DG took to Twitter to rubbish fake news of him supposedly resigning from his post, with the MOH also following suit.
Dr Noor Hisham has been at the centre of the country’s attention since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted last year.
Conducting almost daily press conferences and becoming the spokesman for the country’s efforts against Covid-19, he was initially hailed as a hero, but has faced criticisms recently as the country is still struggling to lower the number of daily new cases.