At GeoCTRL we responded quickly to provide more information around COVID-19. Three weeks ago we launched a page where people can track the COVID-19 outbreak and find relevant information such as restrictions for their home country. Our CEO had reassigned us in early March to put together content on the topic and to keep doing that as priority #1 (next to our “regular”job).
So what’s special about our platform you might ask? The answer is localized relevant content across the globe, manually curated. We added a feature where you can find if a specific country has implemented restrictions resulting from the SARS-CoV-2 spread. This feature took us countless hours to integrate because we were searching for restrictions across the globe, manually and in various languages.
While searching the web to find reliable sources concerning restrictions in around 200 countries and territories, we came across interesting findings. Our approach seemed simple. We find information from official government websites and if that is not possible, we then look for reputable newspapers. We thought we wouldn’t have to look for newspapers, I mean, don’t they get their information from the governments? Here you will find what we learned during our search.
Official Government Websites
We started our search by going to each country’s official government website hoping to find official COVID-19 information. To our surprise, the information was often lacking. Most government websites only had information about what COVID-19 is and how to prevent it. No information about what the government was doing about it nor the restrictions put in place.
After multiple countries started to announce restrictions that affect the general population, we started to see a little more information on some government websites. However, we noticed a trend in countries such as India, USA, and Spain. Those trends are:
- Governments typically announce measures either on live TV and in some cases in long documents.
- Official government websites have information all over the place, it is not clear what the restrictions are.
Here are some examples of some excellent, good, and poor examples of government websites. Please note that I am only referring to their websites, not how they are informing their citizens.
When we could not find definite information in official government websites we turned to reputable newspapers. We were able to find various articles describing the restrictions due to COVID-19, the issue with newspapers is that they either have a snapshot of those restrictions and is not being updated as new restrictions came into effect. Another issue we found is that most newspapers have a section where they have “Coronavirus Coverage” which is very helpful, but only gives a general idea of what is happening throughout the world, not necessarily about restrictions.
Do you think your government is doing a good job when it comes to informing the public about the restrictions in place?
Don’t forget to visit our COVID-19 website at http://covid19.geoctrl.com/. Thanks for the many suggestions on how to make the page more useful. Feel free to join in and send us your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.