The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is issuing these safety guidelines for covering the COVID-19 crisis in the hopes of enabling our colleagues to keep themselves safe as they strive to deliver the latest information on the health emergency and how we, as a country and people, are coping.

These guidelines take on added urgency following confirmation that a number of our colleagues covering the Senate have been classified as PUIs (persons under investigation) after Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, whom they had interviewed, tested positive for the virus, and CNN’s decision to go off air following a confirmed case at their office building.

In light of this, we also appeal to media companies to ensure that employees who have or are suspected of having been infected are provided with adequate care and tested immediately.

It is in times like this that the swift delivery of accurate information to our people is most crucial. Let us all help ensure we can continue to do so.

The novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has grown into a pandemic. As of March 16, the World Health Organization has recorded 167,511 cases including 6,606 deaths in 152 countries and territories. In the Philippines 142 cases have been reported including 12 deaths in the same period.

As the number of cases and deaths continues to rise, information dissemination plays a key role to help contain the spread by combating ignorance, fear, and panic, as well as misinformation and disinformation.

Filipino journalists and other media practitioners working in the frontlines to gather first-hand information should observe the following health, safety and security protocols in covering COVID-19 stories: