This week on Policy Forum Pod, we tackle key questions about the novel coronavirus outbreak – what is the virus, how are countries responding, and how do we address the spread of misinformation when public tensions are running high.

The coronavirus outbreak is rapidly evolving, with new information coming to light each day. With the level of uncertainty about the disease, misinformation is also spreading fast. While orchestrating major public health responses is difficult at the best of times, how can authorities ensure the public are well informed when falsehoods are spread so easily via social media? How appropriate and effective are the responses we’ve seen from international governments so far? And how important is it to maintain strong multilateral institutions to address global health crises? On this week’s pod, we speak to two public health experts – Professor Martyn Kirk and Dr Nicholas Coatsworth – and a China scholar – Yun Jiang – to unpack these issues. 

Martyn Kirk is a Professor of Applied Epidemiology and National Health and Medical Research Council Fellow at The Australian National University. He has worked for over 20 years in state, territory, and federal health departments in the areas of infectious disease surveillance and investigation.

Nick Coatsworth is a Consultant Physician in infectious disease medicine at Canberra Hospital, a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Medicine at The Australian National University Medical School, and a PhD scholar at ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). He was President of Medecins Sans Frontieres Australia from 2010 to 2011.

Yun Jiang is a researcher at the Australian Centre on China in World and Co-Editor of China Neican, a newsletter that decodes China issues with concise, timely, and policy-focused analysis. Her research interests include geo-economics, Australia-China relations, and Chinese-Australians.

Martyn Pearce is a presenter for Policy Forum Pod and the Editor of Policy Forum.

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