OECD Survey on the STI policy responses to Covid-19


Q2.Do you have dedicated arrangements in place for communicating science advice and for refuting misleading information to the public on Covid-19?

Updated on Response
Australia 2020-04-02 The Australian Government Department of Health has a COVID-19 communications strategy which supports the provision of evidence based advice to the public on an ongoing basis. Communication methods include but are not limited to: a web-based resource hub (https://www.health.gov.au/resources/coll...) , social media posts and targeted advertisements, paid broadcasts on television, and consistent public messages disseminated by senior Australian Government representatives. In particular, there is a ‘frequently asked questions’ (https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publ...) resource that is updated frequently to help inform the Australian community and refute misleading information.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is publishing media releases, safety advisories and other information on its website to refute misleading information, where required. These statements are also promoted via our social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Relevant statements include:

TGA issues warning about illegal advertising relating to COVID-19

Warning about products claiming to treat or prevent the novel coronavirus

New restrictions on prescribing hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

No evidence to support intravenous high-dose vitamin C in the management of COVID-19

No evidence to support claims ibuprofen worsens COVID-19 symptoms

OECD Secretariat additions (30 March 2020):
The Australian Government has developed a website (https://www.australia.gov.au/) to provide the latest Coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia, and implemented a WhatsApp chat. The government also has created an official government “Coronavirus Australia” app allowing citizens to be up to date with the official information and advice.
Austria 2020-04-03 Government authorities aim to inform the public through official channels on ongoing scientific developments on a very regular basis.

The Federal Chancellery established a “digital crisis unit”, which deals with the detection and correction of incorrect information about Covid-19.

The public television channels, as well as private networks, are widely covering scientific developments in their news shows. At the same time special television shows have been aired that offer scientists the opportunity to provide relevant advice and information to a larger public.
Belgium 2020-05-13 Concerning science advice, Belgium's daily briefing to citizens is (as the British newspaper "Financial Times" described it) "fronted not by politicians, but by scientific experts and spokespeople of the Belgium government’s crisis centre". Those briefings are also used to clarify misunderstandings and to fight back attempts to deviate from the lockdown conditions and rumours.

Concerning misinformation, Belgium, through its Centre for Cybersecurity, tries to alert people against misleading communication about the coronavirus and provides links to Belgian sites where official reports are available. The Centre has also developed some tools, like an online test to see if you can recognise phishing (see https://www.safeonweb.be/en/quiz/phishin...).

At regional level, there are also important initiatives; e.g.: the Flemish agency of Care and Health (agentschap Zorg en gezondheid) has created a dedicated fact checking webpage on its ‘health and science’ website (https://www.gezondheidenwetenschap.be/do...) to help debunk fake news on COVID-19.
Brazil 2020-04-03 The Minister of Health of Brazil has organized meetings with municipal authorities as well as State Governors in order to coordinate response and to provide the best information to the public. Several of these meetings have been led at Presidential level. The Minister Chief of Staff of the Presidency (« Casa Civil ») has also been charged by the President with coordinating a whole-of-government response, involving with all the relevant Ministries, including those responsible for Health, Science and Technology, Economy and social services (« Cidadania »). There are regular meetings with the press to inform the public of the latest developments of the pandemic in Brazil and the official response. The Ministry of Health has published a webpage to bring information to the public (http://coronavirus.saude.gov.br/) and has developed an app (CoronavirusSUS available for IOS and Android systems) which conveys information and advices citizens to take the correct actions (such as searching the closest health center) based on self-evaluation of their health conditions.

Fiocruz, a state-owned foundation and laboratory that engages in research and development of biotechnology products, has launched the COVID-19 Information for Researchers web page in order to grant access for researchers to scientific and technical publications, situational maps and epidemiological reports (https://portal.fiocruz.br/coronavirus-20...). There is also a podcast to provide information for the general public - https://open.spotify.com/show/4JDOjmiNfS....
Canada 2020-05-08 The Government of Canada has undertaken significant communications and public education on COVID-19 to inform Canadians of the Government's action, to help them make informed decisions and to enable them to take action to protect their health and their communities. Canadians have access to information, updated daily, through:
o The Canada.ca/coronavirus website, which includes information resources that Canadians can download on the novel coronavirus, how to be prepared and how to limit the spread of the virus.
o The Government of Canada's coronavirus information line (1-833-784-4397), where members of the community can speak with a public health officials in either French or English to address their questions. This service is available from 7:00 a.m. to midnight (EST) seven days a week.
o Regular briefings and information sharing by Canada's Chief Public Health Officer and federal cabinet ministers, including multiple Government of Canada social media accounts.
o The Prime Minister provides regular press briefings at 11:00 am almost every morning where he shares the latest information with Canadians. He has been conducting regular briefings since mid-March.
o Government of Canada commercials to remind Canadians of the importance of staying home to protect themselves and those around them. Printed materials sent to every household in Canada on proper hygiene and what to do if they suspect they may have COVID-19.

As the situation evolves, the Government of Canada will expand existing communications and public education to ensure that Canadians can make informed decisions on how best to protect themselves. To ensure Canadians get trusted and accurate information, the Government of Canada is providing $50 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada's dedicated communications capacity and public education efforts.

Provinces and territories are also communicating science advice to their citizens through daily updates from premiers, ministers and chief medical officers. Municipalities are doing the same through their own medical officers of health, and are providing citizens with more specific locally relevant information.

Canada’s National Security Agencies are taking aggressive measures to quash malicious cyber campaigns seeking to exploit vulnerable Canadians and promoting false and fake information pertaining to the pandemic. For example, the Communications Security Establishment dismantled fake sites posing as official government sites. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cse-dis...

On April 7, the Government of Canada invested $3M in several organizations to promote a public awareness tool and on-line workshop to help Canadians become more resilient and think critically about COVID-19 disinformation.

On April 4, the Government of Canada launched a new COVID-19 situational dashboard for Canada https://phac-aspc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/o...

The Canada COVID-19 mobile application allows users to access trusted health resources and track COVID-19 symptoms daily https://ca.thrive.health/

On May 3, the Government of Canada announced a suite of digital tools to help support the physical and mental health and well-being of Canadians during COVID-19. These include:
o Wellness Together Canada, an online portal dedicated to mental wellness and substance use support. It connects Canadians to peer support workers, social workers, psychologists, and other professionals for confidential chat sessions or phone calls, and makes it easier to find credible information and help address mental health and substance use issues.
o Canada COVID-19, a mobile app that features a symptom tracker, a self-assessment tool, trustworthy up-to-date information on COVID-19, as well as information on mental health and substance use support.
o Get Updates on COVID-19, a web-based email service that provides subscribers with critical information related to the pandemic. Subscribers receive emails directing them to important and authoritative content on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website.
Chile 2020-04-22 The Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Information’s social media accounts regularly produces and share content clarifying or refuting misleading information.
Colombia 2020-03-28 ● COVID-19 Content Production Strategy

With the aim of providing true information and undermining false beliefs around COVID-19, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has undertaken an intersectoral strategy of Public Communication of Science and Public Outreach. This strategy includes the following specific components:

i) First, the production of infographics and digital videographies from the technical inputs provided by high-level experts, who participate in an ongoing series of dialogues organized by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation of Colombia to discuss matters related to COVID-19. This information is the result of an analysis of data collected by the different actors who are leading the fight against COVID-19 in Colombia, presented in a way the public would find pedagogical and easy to understand. This material is released in collaboration with various actors from the National STI System and other government entities through websites, social networks and other digital media, in order to empower the audiences who access and share this content.

ii) Second, the creation of live, online, participatory dialogues with experts. These spaces allow experts to address some of the most common misunderstandings about the virus and the crisis it has caused, using examples and technical explanations. For this exercise, users can submit questions through social networks, fostering a participatory and dynamic dialogue where citizens are represented. These dialogues are broadcast regularly throughout the period of quarantine declared by the national government.

iii) Finally, a special edition will be produced entitled "The Coronavirus from different views of the Sciences" with about 10 different texts and related audiovisual material. This will be an opportunity to make an in-depth reading of the current situation through the viewpoints of different areas of knowledge in relation to COVID-19. This material will be released in approximately 3 weeks, in collaboration with actors of the National STI System and other government entities including the Ministry of Health and shared through their digital media, in order to widen its public reach.
Costa Rica 2020-05-05 Communication from authorities has been informative and consistent. The official channel to communicate information regarding the emergency is the Ministry of Health — headed by Minister Daniel Salas, who has a medical degree, a background in epidemiology and a degree in public health. Every day he leads a nationally televised press conference in which he and other national authorities share official data of the country based in the data register of the social security system and the institutions accredited and authorized.

When there is a cybersecurity risk, the center of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Costa Rica, led by the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications, generate warnings about the risk through their network contacts in the public, private, national, and international.
Czech Republic 2020-05-18 The Czech Republic announces the latest information related to the national and international pandemic situation to the public via various official means of communication, through which scientific findings and expert advice are communicated as well.

Several approaches and examples can be mentioned:
• The Czech Government and each Ministry have its own official website where progress reports on the coronavirus pandemic situation are regularly updated and where information and advice based on analytics are also placed.
• The Ministry of Health created website for communication with the general public (https://www.mzcr.cz/cizinci/dokumenty/qu...). It also launched the website in collaboration with IBM chatbot, so called virtual nurse Agnes (Anežka), which continuosly apears on other official sites.
• The Czech Academy of Sciences (hereinafter referred to as „CAS“) – experts from numerous institutes of CAS assist with testing of samples for the new type of the coronavirus and analyse materials for the production of breathing masks and respirators. All news related to the CAS’s assistance in the struggle against the contagion can be found at http://www.avcr.cz/en/news-archive/The-C....
Denmark 2020-03-28 The site Videnskab.dk, which is publicly funded, communicates on science in general, including on Covid-19. Denmark has also launched the site coronasmitte.dk, where all information from Danish public authorities can be found.
Estonia 2020-03-30 The whole government amplifies the messages of the Science Council formed to address the crisis, and bases all decisions on research-based recommendations. There are parallel information campaigns online and in other forms of media to target different groups in society.

Scientists are actively commenting and giving interviews for national media. There are civic society initiatives in social media promoting responsible use of information.
European Union 2020-06-12 The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by an ‘infodemic’ – a substantial increase of misinformation and targeted disinformation campaigns- that poses a twofold threat to the EU. Firstly, ‘infodemic’ has been proven to adversely impact public health by the dissemination of false and harmful information. Secondly, an advancement of geopolitical or commercial interests by malign actors.
The Commission is active in the area of citizen outreach and communication: within the EC page for the Coronavirus response (https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-trav...), the Commission has launched a page to inform about all the EU research projects and initiatives to tackle the spread of COVID-19 and preparedness for other outbreaks: https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-i...

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is closely monitoring this outbreak, providing risk assessments, public health guidance, and advice on response activities to EU Member States and the EU Commission.

On ‘fake news’, the European Commission is helping fight disinformation through close cooperation with online platforms. The EC is encouraging them to promote authoritative sources, demote content that is fact-checked as false or misleading, and take down illegal content or content that could cause physical harm.
In 2018, the Commission adopted a Communication on tackling online disinformation, together with a code of good practice for digital platforms and an action plan, aiming to protect the democratic systems of the EU MS. In this context, the European External Action Service runs the EUvsDisinfo website https://euvsdisinfo.eu/ that detects narratives about the supposed superiority of authoritarian regimes in addressing COVID-19, as opposed to the perceived weaknesses of democracies. In addition, Europol provides advice on how to fight COVID-19 fake news, and a number of MS set up national task forces to monitor and counter country-specific false information. DG COMM set up a ‘Fighting disinformation’ corner under the Commission’s Coronavirus response website. DG R&I has flagged multiple instances of harmful narratives, and developed and disseminated resources helpful in countering misinformation. DG R&I also provided content for a new webpage listing EU-funded R&I projects working against disinformation. A Communication Tackling COVID-19 disinformation - Getting the facts right on disinformation focussing on the COVID-19 specific issues on which DG R&I already provided input was adopted on 10 June.
The European Commission has also raised attention to the rise of online scams and unfair practices: on 23 March 2020, Commissioner For Justice and Consumers Didier Reynders wrote to a number of platforms, social media, search engines and market places to require their cooperation in taking down scams from their platforms, following the common position endorsed by the CPC network. On 20 March 2020, the consumer protection (CPC) authorities of the Member States, with the support of the Commission, issued CPC Common Position COVID-19 on the most reported scams and unfair practices in this context. The objective is to ask and help online platform operators to better identify such illegal practices, take them down and prevent similar ones to reappear. https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/fil...
Finland 2020-05-21 The government is stressing in all of its communication the scientific base of its Corona actions and encourages citizens to follow its website (https://valtioneuvosto.fi/en/information...) and the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) (https://thl.fi/en/web/infectious-disease...), which provide up-to-date comprehensive information on the coronavirus. The Government website contains decisions by the Government, information produced by the ministries on the effects of the coronavirus on different administrative sectors as well as topical material on the coronavirus from all ministries.

For general information inquiries on the coronavirus a phone number (with chat function) has been set up. The information service is open on weekdays at 8–21 and Saturdays at 9–15.
France 2020-05-25 A dedicated governmental website was quickly set up, allowing sharing of updated information.

The French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation will soon put online (to date, March 26) a dedicated website to the latest information, including an anti fake news component. The ministry also supports the creation of quality documentaries dedicated to the coronavirus.
Germany 2020-09-14 Germany is aware of the need to counter the dissemination of misleading information through the media, and to intensify risk communication for the general public as well as for health care professionals. With view to the spread of disinformation regarding Covid-19, the Federal Government has declared it an explicit goal to communicate all policy measures and steps to tackle the pandemic in a "transparent and comprehensive manner”. The editorial departments of all government communication channels rectify misunderstandings, untrue statements and purposeful disinformation. Furthermore, the Federal Government publishes information on how to identify fake news.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research set up a topic page “Corona virus fact check”. As the virus spreads around the world, Germany is aware of the importance of getting accurate information about the disease. To combat misinformation, the webpage is updated regularly and this information is spread through social media channels to counteract false information.

Moreover, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research issued a Call on detecting and combating online disinformation campaigns. The aim of the Call is to foster the research on methods and technologies as well as social and regulatory frameworks to gain a better understanding and to contain mass distribution of disinformation related to Covid-19.

The Press and Information Office of the Federal Government addresses the general public with a wide range of Covid-19 related topics through its homepage www.bundesregierung.de and social media channels. With one of the most important cross-media promotion campaign in history and the widespread support of the civil society, the Federal Government promotes Germany’s Corona-Warn-App. The app helps citizens to determine whether they have had any contact with an infected person. This way, German health services can interrupt chains of infection more quickly. The Corona-Warn-App is available as free download in more than 20 languages.

Furthermore, the Robert Koch Institut (RKI), Germany’s government agency and research institute for disease control and prevention, publishes a daily written situation report on the Covid-19 (available in English language).
Greece 2020-05-07 Official information and scientific advice to the public is delivered daily from the mass media. Facts, data, scientific information (including alerts on fake news and rumors), measures and recommendations are provided by the Chair of the Expert Committee (see responses to Question 1), Professor Sotiris Tsiodras (University of Athens, Medical School), the representatives of the General Secretariat of Civil Protection, and other representatives of the Greek Government. There is considerable social pressure, raised through social media, to silence divergent opinions contradicting mainstream government policy and proposing different approaches to management of the outbreak. Similarly, the electronic marketing of products promoted as protecting from the virus is socially condemned. Αll the political spectrum stands behind this government action.

Citizens can also get sound information and guidance directly from the National Public Health Organization (Ministry of Health) (https://eody.gov.gr/neos-koronaios-covid...) through a 24-hour available phone line.
Ireland 2020-03-30 Science Foundation Ireland is not aware of a formal arrangement for this. We are communicating information from pre-agreed sources such as the Health Service Executive, Health Protection Surveillance Centre, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and WHO.
Israel 2020-03-30 No
Italy 2020-03-29 The strategy implemented in Italy to tackle the Covid-19 emergency involves an information campaign by the Ministry of Health and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, to make the measures adopted by the government clear to citizens. The daily press conference of the Civil Protection to update the national community on data about the pandemic is broadcast by all main TV networks. Furthermore, in order to reach the largest number of citizens, belonging to a range of different socio-demographic groups, the campaign is being promoted through the main social media networks (Facebook and Instagram), as well as on Italian television channels (private and public). In particular, citizens are warned against fake news. People are invited to rely upon official websites e.g. www.salute.gov.it/nuovocoronavirus.
Japan 2020-03-29 Accurate information is provided through multiple measures such as the website of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW).
Korea 2020-03-28 - Korea shares the latest available scientific information in a prompt and transparent manner through official website(ncov.mohw.go.kr) as stipulated in domestic law (Infectious Disease Control and Prevention Act) which establishes the public’s right to be informed about the latest developments of and responses to outbreaks and infection control. Korea also mandates the disclosure of the whereabouts, means of transportation, healthcare institutions visited, and contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases.
- Korea shares the latest information (the number of patients, the number of those of under isolation, the number of diagnostic tests, whereabouts of confirmed cases, etc.) and relevant measures via regular briefing that take place twice a day (by the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters in the morning and the Central Disease Control Headquarters in the afternoon) and the frequent distribution of press release, as well as via websites, SNS channels, and portal sites.
- Korea is also promoting the code of conduct for infection prevention. For example, Korea is distributing customized promotional materials for daycare centers, schools, healthcare institutions, pharmacies, etc., and delivering information through a range of easily accessible media (TV, radio, trains, buses, YouTube channels, etc.). Also, Korea is offering counselling for and receiving reports from the public and healthcare institutions through public health centers and the KCDC call center (☎1339) (15,908 call cases out of 16,557(96.1%) & 483 health care out of 485 (99.9%) handled as of March 25).
- Korea is stringently responding to fake news, which leads to excessive public anxiety and causes confusion in infection control, through the pan-governmental cooperation system that encompasses Korea Communications Commission, the National Police Agency, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
- Regarding COVID-19 media coverage, an expert group is providing review comments and global trend reports.
- The Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology(KRIBB) has opened a portal (http://kobic.re.kr/COVID19) to quickly collect and provide research data and information related to COVID-19 from around the world.
- The Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies, National Academy of Medicine of Korea and the National Research Council of Science & Technology jointly organized an online forum to fact check COVID-19 information on March 12.
Latvia 2020-08-04 No dedicated arrangements are in place, but the science communication social media accounts "Zinātne Latvijai" administered by the Ministry of Education and Science are sharing content, communicating science advice and refuting misleading information (e.g. about advertisements that sell fake Covid-19 tests).

The State Chancellery of Latvia has devloped an official Covid-19 information website (https://covid19.gov.lv/).

Lithuania 2020-03-30 The Ministry of Health Care and the Governmental Emergency Commission provide official information related to COVID19. For this purpose, a separate web page has been created, where the public is provided with links to reliable international and national sources of information.
Mexico 2020-03-29 Yes, the federal government is informing citizens people every day and several times a day. Information based in facts and statistics are shared about the advances of the epidemic and efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Most of the messages are being led by the Ministry of Health. Others are led by the foreign service. Security is also involved in regards of the guidelines to follow in terms of the quarantine and the potential of any danger for the general public.
Netherlands 2020-04-01 The Dutch public broadcasting foundation regularly asks experts to tell about COVID-19. Expert information, both from the WHO and scientists, is regularly referred to in newspapers and commercial broadcasting foundations. There seems to be only a small minority of newsmakers busy with misleading information.
However, it's hard to tell what voices are there below the surface. There is some news about false information, ranging from conspiracy theories to misleading health advice.
New Zealand 2020-03-30 Advice to the public on COVID is led/communicated by NZ Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health, via regular press conferences, social media updates and a dedicated website https://covid19.govt.nz/ These communications are acting on the latest scientific advice.
Norway 2020-04-30 Through its website (fhi.no), The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) provides scientific advise and information to the public. NIPH is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Care Services. Helsenorge.no is another public website that communicates scientific health advice to the public, including Covid-19. Information about both sites are communicated systematically in order make sure the public get quality assured advice and knowledge about Covid-19.
Peru 2020-05-22 Based on the recommendations of the group of experts, since the beginning of the crisis, our government has been consistently sharing educational contents, videos, info-graphics in order to counter misleading information. Said contents are shared taping on all available digital resources, such as websites, social networks, TV and SMS. Furthermore, the members of the group of experts are also regularly providing science based advice on TV, Radio and online platforms in order to disseminate proper information, dispel the doubts of the population and comment on the measures taken by government authorities. All ministries and

On the other hand, The Innovation Platform of the Ministry of Production, Innovate Perú, has launched a contest named InnoVemos - InnovaCovid-19 challenge. This initiative intends to co-finance projects oriented to disseminate information regarding the preparation, reaction and recuperation actions to be conducted within the context of the crisis. This contest will find innovative solutions focused on the following priorities:
Dissemination of innovative solutions regarding COVID-19 ( before, during and after the crisis)
Dissemination of information in innovative formats
Dissemination in isolated communities and native communities where spanish is not spoken.

There are two categories, namely Editorial contents (Tales, comics, photo books, graphic novels, etc) and Visual arts (Photographic series, illustrations, drawings, among other similar contents).

The Peruvian government has also created a mobile app called “El Perú en tus manos” (Peru in your hands) where citizens can conduct a self assessment of their symptoms, find information regarding the areas with presence of infected persons and seek help, in case it was required.

In order to reach our native and indigenous groups, the peruvian government has developed flyers with information regarding COVID-19 in 21 languages, and launched announcements, short radio programs and podcasts in 14 native languages. This communicational effort has been developed being mindful of the cultural context of the target audience and reaches more than 90% of our indigenous population.

The National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation is hosting its Science and Society Colloquium: Science, social participation and political decisions. The rationale behind this virtual colloquium is to host relevant dialogues and provide coherent answers to the current crisis, while preventing and mitigating potential future outbreaks. Through roundatables with peruvian and foreign reputed experts, the colloquium will touch upon the most crucial issues regarding COVID-19. The colloquium will take place between May 18th to May 22nd, May 25th to May 29 and June 1st to June 5th and each day there will be a roundtable discussion.

Poland 2020-05-15 See point 2 from Q3 in the range of researches on psychological and social aspects of coronavirus pandemic and the ways of its limiting (including health policy and organization of the healthcare, research ethics and care of the sick, social behaviors during pandemic).
Portugal 2020-06-29 A number of dedicated websites have been developed in order to communicate appropriately evidence based information and recommendations regarding the COVID-19 epidemic, in addition to the direct health support mechanisms and corresponding contingency policies.
The Directorate-General for Health (DGS, within the Ministry of Health) has set up a dedicated section with information on COVID-19, including FAQs, recommendations and information videos, information and communication materials for use by third parties, updated information on the incidence and dissemination of the virus and disease, and other documentation.
Everyday DGS organizes a press conference, where updated data is presented and where recommendations are reinforced, and controversial issues or fake news are discussed. These conferences have wide dissemination in the media, and are available afterwards at DGS site.
A dedicated site was also setup by the Ciência Viva - National Agency for Science and Technological Culture, which includes videos, articles and FAQs, developed and/or presented by scientists on the coronavirus and COVID-19, including a special section on relevant Citizen Science projects, highlighting the contribution of the wider public to research development in related topics. Specific materials on the corona virus epidemic were produced by Ciência Viva for the school communities.
A wider site has been setup by the Government to present all the measures that are being put forward, not only on health issues, but also regarding the social protection policies to the citizens in isolation, telework, schools issues, etc. as well as to business firms. A wide set of initiatives have been developed and are all listed and presented on this site.
Portugal is also developing efforts to disseminate scientific-based information to the general population, and the government has asked researchers, teachers and their R&D units and academic structures to address and communicate the appropriate technical information and mobilize scientific communication efforts to the population. Researchers and academic institutions have taken multiple initiatives in response to the crisis, with several universities having dedicated sections on their websites.
In addition, there has been a high presence of officials and scientists and medical experts in the media to discuss the development of the epidemic, the public response and the recommendations for the public.
Extraordinary measures to respond to the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19, in the scope of science and innovation (Council Ministers Resolution nº 24/2020, 14th April). https://dre.pt/application/conteudo/1313...
RESEARCH 4 COVID-19: Funding for Research 4 COVID-19, 2nd Edition, Proposal submissions 30 April-15 May 2020: Special support for rapid implementation projects for innovative response solutions to COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed R&D projects should contribute to improving the response of health systems to the impact of COVID-19, contributing to better patient management and/or the implementation of public health measures, in line with the provisions of the National Preparedness and Response Plan for new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from the Directorate General for Health (DGS). The second edition focuses on forecasting the future evolution of the pandemic and its impact on health services and society, as well as optimizing the appropriate response to the pandemic at various levels.
Science 4 COVID-19: The “Science 4 COVID19” portal is an initiative of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation (AICIB), in partnership with public and private health authorities and scientific research institutions, to mobilize the scientific communities in joint Research and Development (R&D) projects and activities aimed at combating COVID-19 in line with the National Directorate of Health (DGS) National Preparedness and Response to Disease Plan, as well as with the strategies of other European and international health authorities. The portal groups metadata, datasets or links, problem registration, research results in epidemiological surveillance and other anonymous public health data necessary to combat the coronavirus epidemic, such as clinical, analytical and demographic results. https://www.science4covid19.pt/en/
COVID-19. FCT Information: FCT webpage, where all the information that is emitted will be made available or indexed, directly or indirectly related to this pandemic situation, and that affects in some way the activity of R&D institutions and the scientific community as a whole https://www.fct.pt/covid-19/index.phtml.....
“DOCTORATES 4 COVID-19”: DOCTORATES 4 COVID-19 Call: The Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), in collaboration with the Agency for Clinical Research and Biomedical Innovation (AICIB), opens a call for research scholarships for PhD. The call aims to support the development of knowledge to create the skills needed to respond to the pandemic of the new corona virus SARS CoV2 and the Covid-19 disease, and to future pandemics, that may translate into efficient prevention measures, better healthcare and an effective
support to citizens. https://www.fct.pt/apoios/bolsas/concurs...
Gender Research 4 Covid-19: Funding for Gender Research 4 Covid-19; proposal submissions 15th May-2nd June. Special funding for research projects on the impact of COVID-19 on gender-based inequalities and violence against women. https://www.fct.pt/apoios/GenderResearch...
RCTS – Science, Technology and Society Network increases its capacity due to COVID-19 pandemic: RCTS − the national education and research network, also known as NREN (National Research and Education Network) internationally − is the unit of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) responsible for national scientific computing, and offers researchers, teachers, and students a high-performance digital infrastructure to support projects on a national and international level.
Russian Federation 2020-09-10 1. The Investigative Committee of Russia created a working group to prevent the spread of false information about the situation with coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in Russia among the population. The work of the working group is aimed at identifying the facts of dissemination, including through the Internet, of false and unverified information about the number of patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) in Russia, as well as other false information that contributes to panic.
2. Special website has been launched by the Russian government where all the official information about COVID-19 is being posted (https://xn--80aesfpebagmfblc0a.xn--p1ai/...).
3. The Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) opened a webpage with verified information on COVID-19, statistical information and recommendations for the population: https://rospotrebnadzor.ru/about/info/ne...
A call-center and chat-bot service are functioning to advice population and/ or provide necessary support.
4. Dedicated sections were created on the websites of responsible ministries and agencies to provide official information about COVID-19 within their areas of responsibility.
5. Ammendments to the legislation prohibiting the distibution of misleading information about Covid-19 and suggesting substantial fines for organisations and individuals disseminating false information.
South Africa 2020-03-29 • The South African Government has published regulations under the Disaster Management Act 2002 specifically dealing with “fake news” and Covid-19. Under section 11(5) of the regulations, it becomes an offence to publish a statement through any medium with the intention to deceive about Covid-19, anyone’s Covid-19 infection status or government measures to address the pandemic. The penalty is a fine or imprisonment for six months, or both.
• The Department of Health, supported by the entire government communications machinery, has led efforts to raise awareness among the general public around screening and detection, prevention, hygiene control and the importance of social distancing.
• Also, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in collaboration with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), embarked on an Immediate public survey via social media to understand SA public's knowledge about COVID-19, how prepared people are to care for themselves and for other and how they feel about it. The purpose is to identify the attitudes and behaviours of key informant groups, i) taxi drivers, ii) religious leaders, iii) traditional leaders, iv) homes for elderly, v) informal tavern owners, vi) CEO's of private companies, vii) health care workers, viii) Medical aid schemes. This will be follow-up with qualitative research.
Spain 2020-04-01 The Spanish government through the Ministry of Health’ web page offers specific information on COVID-19 addressing health professionals, citizens and the press.

The Ministry of Science and Innovation’ web page gathers all relevant information regarding scientific actions taken at national level on COVID-19 including main initiatives and impact in current calls. The Carlos III Institute of Health also provides updates on the epidemiologic data that are made available on this website.

To refute misleading information, the COVID-19 Scientific Analysis Group, with the support of ISCIII specialists, provides information on scientific advances and possible hoaxes and rumors that may arise. This communication is made available through the Cabinet of the Minister of Science and Innovation (MICIN) in coordination with the Secretary of State for Communication.

The Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), hosted by MICIN, also contributes to communicate scientific advances on COVID-19:
• The SINC agency is refuting potentially misleading information to the public on COVID-19, and together with ScienceFlows is conducting an analysis on the characteristics of hoaxes and fake news about COVID-19. And together with the European Science-Media Hub the agency has compiled a list of sources, ranging from recognized official international webpages providing daily updates, to data and maps, as well as a selection of resources tailored for reporters and for tackling the spread of disinformation on the topic).
• The ScienceTruck scientific dissemination program and YouTube channel for youngsters, starring YouTubers, which FECYT broadcasts live from secondary schools throughout Spain. A special con Covid-19 is planned.
• Additional information on international activities of FECYT are included in Section Q1B.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Agenda has been commissioned to provide a new specialized web page, supporting the Ministry of Health, to provide the best available knowledge and evidence and refuse the hoaxes and rumors and fight misleading information.

Relevant information at:

Sweden 2020-03-28 The Research councils do not have specific information activities on Covid-19.
Switzerland 2020-05-20 Two times a week, the government provides information at the highest level (Federal Council) at press conferences. This is supplemented by information from experts.

The Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force was set up to act as a scientific advisory body to the political authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force is publishing Policy Briefs that focus on a wide range of the most pressing scientific issues to better understanding and managing the pandemic (see https://ncs-tf.ch/en/policy-briefs). The Task Force is currently preparing lay summaries of the published Policy briefs, to ensure that the information reaches a broader audience.

The dialogue between science and society is one of the main tasks of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. Recently, they released a COVID19 related video entitled “What Swiss Scientists want Young People to know” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmACHtK0...).
Thailand 2020-03-31 As RKEOC, the research and scientific data or relevant information are collected and analyzed thoroughly and further formulate easy-to-understand information that are disseminated to public on daily basis. These information present update on COVID-19 situation in Thailand and aboard and also summarize a proper practice or knowledge for people in coping with COVID-19 crisis situation.
Turkey 2020-04-10 The most trustworthy information, data and knowledge are provided by the Ministry of Health, and in terms of Covid-19 R&D activities, the most credible information and data are provided by the Covid-19 Web Portal of TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). The portal has been launched by the Ministry of Industry and Technology with TUBITAK.

The statistics on COVID-19, are updated daily and shared on the portal. The statistics include current developments, scientific resources, data sets, useful links; as well as the latest scientific developments in clinical studies, methods of prevention and treatment. The national and international calls for RDI projects are also provided on the portal. Since its launch, within a week, the portal has been visited by approximately 120 thousand people and has reached more than 1 million page views.
United Kingdom 2020-03-31 The Government is promoting advice on Covid-19 through websites such as https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronaviru... and has launched a Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. The Government texted all mobile phone users across the UK to inform them of new rules announced by the Prime Minister, having previously sent text messages to the vulnerable as part of a shielding package.

UKRI has launched a new website for anyone interested in the science of COVID-19. CORONAVIRUS – THE SCIENCE EXPLAINED provides authoritative and up-to-date explanations of the scientific evidence behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Developed with the support of the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, the articles have been curated by a team of research scientists working in coronavirus, virus and relevant related fields at the Universities of Oxford, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Imperial College London, King’s College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Topics include evidence and facts about the virus, information on how people are infected and the treatment options. The site will start small and the intention is to rapidly populate it with further articles.

Researchers from UKRI’s GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents (Accelerate) Hub have joined forces with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and others to produce evidence-based tips for parents covering aspects such as planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19. The set of six one-page parenting tips are available from WHO and UNICEF. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lance...