NCDC Covers Up Locations of Coronavirus Cases Raising Anger Among Citizens – Al Marsad

Late Tuesday, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced two new cases of coronavirus in Libya, raising the total confirmed cases to 10.

[Libya, 1 April 2020] – Uncharacteristically, the NCDC did not indicate the locations of the cases this time contrary to its previous practice to the dismay of the citizens who accuse it of being secretive and causing them not to take the additional precautions. Previously, the NCDC published the names of cities and regions of the suspected cases and names of referral hospitals and clinics.

The NCDC had until yesterday named the suspected areas but today it removed any mention

It is noteworthy that all countries adopt have adopted transparency on data on coronavirus infections. Tunisia, for example, did not only announce the names of cities, but also the names of neighborhoods within the capital, identified as foci, and called on their residents to be cautious. There is nothing to be ashamed of in this regard. Rather, transparency, which is the duty of the NCDC, solidifies confidence and promotes protection. However, the NCDC is not required to indicate the names of the cases nor publish their photos, as it did with the first case.

In light of the current divisions and deep-rooted regional differences, the NCDC’s ambiguous announcement has put its credibility at stake. Some have said that it has yielded to political pressures and threats from the armed groups, while others embraced the conspiracy theory claiming that the NCDC hides the names of regions to allow further spread of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Others argued that the cases were recorded among prominent officials or leaders of the armed groups, which prompted the NCDC to hide the name of the city or region. Another speculation was that the cases were recorded among the Syrian mercenaries and terrorists who recently arrived in Tripoli. Meanwhile, the NCDC published a map of the cases on its website and updated it today as ‘no location available’ in reference to the new cases.

NCDC puts the two new cases as ‘no location available’.

The NCDC has raised undue controversy, speculations, and dismay over its blackout policies at times and the media flop at others. It even used unprofessional media personnel, one of whom worked for Libya Panorama channel of the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) and known for his biased political positions.

Another is Amin Al-Hashimi, who was a broadcaster on the Islamist Al-Tanasuh channel. He has a famous clip in an episode on the same channel in 2015 in which he denies the existence of ISIS in Sirte and claims the terrorists who slaughtered the Egyptian Copts were just actors using cinematic techniques.

20,000 angry comments against the NCDC

In less than an hour, the NCDC received more than 20 thousand comments on its official page, most of which demanded it to reveal the location of the two cases. Because of its blackout policies, floundering, caving, or fear, the NCDC actions caused some citizens to say that the whole issue was a lie and no cases were recorded at all. Others indicated that it hides the name of the referral clinics for political and financial motives, indifferent to the possibility that these clinics are infected.

The NCDC should have anticipated these comments considering the prevailing state of division and disagreement, and even citizens’ lack of confidence in State institutions. For many, the NCDC used to represent neutrality and institutional unity before putting itself at stake. Today, some have called upon the World Health Organization (WHO) to intervene and take over the file to enforce transparency on the NCDC so that people can protect themselves from any manipulation.

© Al Marsad English (2020)