Instagram has announced they have started removing coronavirus-related content and accounts from recommendations and ‘Explore’ unless posted by credible health organizations.
The Facebook-owned app said the move is to stop false claims and conspiracy theories that have been flagged by authorities from causing harm to the public during the pandemic.
According to the social media giants, users who search for information related to the coronavirus will be presented with an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries.
When they also search in Explore, they will see reputable sources and pages from the World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund and other official organizations.
Instagram says it is “working quickly to make this available globally over the coming weeks.”
“We will also start to downrank content in feed and Stories that has been rated false by third-party fact-checkers,” the photo-sharing platform added.
The move comes a week after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the firm’s new ‘Coronavirus Information Center’ during a phone press conference from his home on Wednesday ( Mar.18).
Zuckerberg said when users search for content related to the outbreak, the hub will appear at the top of users’ Feeds with authoritative information from organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the CDC.
“The top priority for us has been making sure people can get access to good trustworthy information about the outbreak from reliable sources,” Zuckerberg said during the call.
“During a pandemic, we are seeing hoaxes convincing people who are sick not to get treatment or protect people around them.
“We’ve seen one hoax that encourages people if you’re sick to drink bleach to cure it.
“That’s terrible, that’s going to cause imminent harm.”
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Nasarawa Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Abdulkarim Kana, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Commissioner for health, Pharmacist Yahaya Ahmed, confirmed the incident to The Nation in a telephone interview in Lafia, the state capital.
“Yes I’m aware. I can confirm that, however he is in self isolation at home and is in a stable and clear condition. We are taking care of him.”
The Attorney General is a member of the State Task Force on COVID-19.
Africa urged to test more as coronavirus cases exceed 500,000
African countries must carry out more coronavirus testing and make people use masks, a regional disease control body said on Thursday as cases topped half a million in the continent.
New cases in Africa were up 24% over the past week, with data from governments and the World Health Organization showing it had 512,499 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 11,930 deaths.
“The pandemic is gaining full momentum,” John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a virtual news briefing from Addis Ababa.
Nkengasong said African countries, many of which do not have reliable data, must adopt an aggressive approach to encourage the wearing of face masks and ramp up testing and tracing.
“This will save lives and save (the) economy.”
Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Algeria account for 71% of infections on the continent, Nkengasong said.
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Some governments have been reluctant to acknowledge epidemics or to expose crumbling health systems to outside scrutiny, while others are either too poor or conflict-ridden to carry out significant testing.
Nkengasong said it was inevitable that as cases rise, hospitals will become overwhelmed.
“That is something that is happening already. We will continue to see it as the pandemic expands,” he added.
Although many have also started gradually easing lockdowns to reopen hard-hit economies, governments are conscious that opening up too quickly could lead to a spike in new cases.
The African Union Commission said on Thursday it had launched a consortium for vaccine clinical trials to be headed by the Africa CDC, which aimed to secure more than 10 late-stage vaccine clinical trials as early as possible.
South Africa and Egypt are already running human trials for a potential vaccine.
COVID-19 cases in Nigeria hits more than 30,000 with 460 new cases
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 460 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 30,249.
Also, the death toll from the virus has hit 684, as 15 new deaths were reported on Wednesday.
There was a drop in the number of confirmed cases reported Wednesday compared to what was reported on Tuesday (503).
The health agency in a tweet said the 460 new cases were reported in 21 states including Lagos, Rivers, Oyo, Delta, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Anambra, Kano, Plateau, Edo, Bayelsa, Enugu, Osun, Kwara, Borno, Ogun, Kaduna, Imo, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, and Adamawa.
All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.
As of the time of reporting, all 36 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease.
Lagos State remains the epicentre for the disease with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the country, while Zamfara has not reported any new confirmed case in the past 51 days.
The other five states with the highest number of confirmed cases are FCT, Oyo, Edo, Delta, and Kano State.
The 460 new cases were reported from 21 states: Lagos – 150, Rivers – 49, Oyo – 43, Delta – 38, FCT – 26, Anambra – 20, Kano – 20, Plateau – 18, Edo – 14, Bayelsa – 13, Enugu – 13, Osun – 12, Kwara – 10, Borno – 8, Ogun – 7, Kaduna – 6, Imo – 4, Bauchi – 3, Gombe – 3, Niger – 2 and Adamawa – 1.
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