Risk communications in the COVID-19 pandemic

12 June 2020

On 11 June 2020 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a tenth update on the COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK. The update contains a section on the importance of risk communications during a pandemic, which was written in collaboration with the social science studies team of RECOVER.

Even as the lockdown is beginning to lift across the EU, public health measures COVID-19 pandemic impact nearly every aspect of everyday life. Risk communication efforts are needed to explain the government advice and address the uncertainties of the population. The messages need to stress the importance of respecting public health measures in order for the citizens to protect themselves and the vulnerable populations, as well as relieve the pressure on the health systems.

“The population has already made enormous sacrifices in recent months, and we run the risk of jeopardising our collective achievements in limiting the spread of the disease by ‘lifting our guard’ too soon.”

The most important messages include maintaining hand hygiene, respecting respiratory etiquette and staying at home when experiencing symptoms. Furthermore, it is important for those in at-risk groups, such as the elderly, to stay at home in order to avoid getting ill. Public health authorities must also anticipate the need to re-introduce certain measures in the occasion the number of cases increases and be ready to inform the public shall this happen.

Read the full update here.

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