To counter misinformation circulating in the country, the Federal Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration – Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration – runs an online portal to provide information about the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in English, French, Turkish and other languages.
“By obeying certain rules, every individual can help protect the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions from the coronavirus. Flattening the curve is necessary so as not to overburden the health care system. Government authorities have taken measures to slow the virus’ spread and to reduce its economic impact,” the Commissioner said on the portal, which is targeted at the migrant communities in the country to enlist their support in the fight against the virus.
“Because many in the Berlin community know that I am a journalist, I received a lot of voice messages asking me: Is it true that henna or pickled vegetables protect against the virus,” the Turkish journalist Nalan Sipar told the news agency EPD in March. There is even the absurd rumour that Turks have a gene that is resistant to the corona pathogen, she remarked.
The journalist noted that there is “incredible disinformation” about the virus among the Turkish-born population who does not speak German. She recommended a short educational video with subtitles in Turkish, Arabic, English and other languages, because people are panicking.
Similar misconceptions exist in other migrant communities caused partly by messages circulated in the social media. These messages mix sound advice, such as how to wash your hands properly, with misinformation. And they undermine the efforts of the government to contain the epidemic.
The African Network of Germany (TANG), a network of more than 700 African associations and individual members in Germany, carried out a community campaign to provide information about the coronavirus disease to Africans living in the country. Dr Sylvie Nantcha, chairman of TANG, said the organisation launched the awareness and sensitisation campaign as its contribution to national efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
The German government’s website provides information not only on the disease itself but also on associated issues such its response to the situation of workers and companies and directives concerning educational institutions and travel restrictions.
Government’s Portal on Coronavirus in English, French, other languages: here