Transparency in the Age of Corona

The outbreak of Coronavirus, COVID-19, has sparked widespread speculation of a global crisis as the pandemic is affecting 121 countries as of 11th March, 2020. In the economic sector, stock markets had their worst performance since the 2008 financial crisis with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Although this virus was very quick to infect globally, there seems to be a delay in the actions of governments’ to raise the red flag. 

This time of epidemic is a test of government’s receptiveness towards prioritising freedom of the press and transparency of information in restraining the epidemic. So far, it seems many governments are performing poorly in this test. This insensitivity of many nations in tracking information properly could possibly severe the crisis.

In China, Dr. Li Wenlieng, who tried to warn his seniors about a mysterious virus, was stifled as a rumormonger by the police. The death of the whistleblower doctor, by the same virus that he had warned about, has prompted a public outcry inside the People’s Republic of China. In communist China, people have complained about the authorities’ effect in using propaganda to restrict significant information about threat of outbreak.