The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is asking the media to use the word lockdown properly in its COVID-19 coverage because it is creating fear and panic among the population even as he emphasized that there are no compelling reasons to implement it now.
DILG Spokesperson Usec Jonathan Malaya explained that when you use the word lockdown it means that people are confined in one area or place and they are not allowed to leave by authorities.
“That’s why the word lockdown is usually used with relation to prisoners. So when China declared a lockdown in Wuhan, their citizens are not allowed to leave those cities and the highways were closed. That’s a lockdown,” he said.
“A lockdown is an extreme measure which we may adopt if we are already on Code Red Sublevel 2 when we have contained community transmission. But since we don’t have those conditions yet, there is no compelling reason to place any place under lockdown,” he said.
Malaya said that when a building or compound is closed for disinfecting or for other purposes, that’s not a lockdown. “That only means that the building, compound or place is closed and therefore we should accurately described it as such. It’s just closed,” he said.
He said that the media has the responsibility to use the proper terms because it needs to relay the facts and not add to the “infodemic” that’s currently gripping the world.
“People watch the news of lockdowns in China and Italy so they know what it means. So when we use the word lockdown improperly in the local setting, it causes panic and fear,” he said.
He said that the constant use of the word lockdown has forced people to do panic buying and other unnecessary acts brought about by fear.
He emphasized that while the DILG and PNP are ready to implement a lockdown, the situation on the ground does not warrant it and the word therefore should not be used lightly.