EDITORIAL COMMENT: Silence only breeds fear

First published in News by

WE are sometimes bewildered by the lack of flexibility of officials.

This country, indeed the whole world, may be in the early stages of an epidemic that will make past flu outbreaks seem relatively trivial.

Yet our attempts yesterday to clarify the situation regarding a Newport family who may or may not have contracted swine flu in Mexico were met with a brick wall by officials from the National Assembly who are co-ordinating the response in Wales.

The public health service for Wales has also refused to comment.

Let us state immediately that we have no wish to identify any potential victims of this disease unless they wish to be identified.

We hope their tests prove negative.

But we do have a duty to tell the public of Newport and greater Gwent what steps are being taken to deal with suspected cases.

If our information is incorrect then please tell us and we will not publish a story.

It is vital in this situation to avoid panic and misinformation, yet refusals by officials to help us inform the public of Newport about a suspected local outbreak are more likely to lead the public to worry unnecessarily.

We are grateful to Newport council for the limited help it was able to give us on this matter.

We have no reason to suppose that there is any danger to anyone, so why can't Assembly officials be more helpful?

Information on swine flu will be vital over the coming weeks, but a blanket silence to legitimate enquiries is not going to alleviate public concern.

Comments (8)

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11:55am Thu 30 Apr 09

jilted john says...

Myself personally I would like to no if there is an out break in Newport.
At least we can take steps to avoid getting infected.
At the moment no one really cares because they think it’s not real.
It’s just something that happens to people on the TV.
If it’s to stop us panicking well let’s panic if your kids pick it up in school because those in charge decided not to tell, us were going to be well peed off .
Myself personally I would like to no if there is an out break in Newport. At least we can take steps to avoid getting infected. At the moment no one really cares because they think it’s not real. It’s just something that happens to people on the TV. If it’s to stop us panicking well let’s panic if your kids pick it up in school because those in charge decided not to tell, us were going to be well peed off . jilted john
  • Score: 0

11:57am Thu 30 Apr 09

D.G. says...

It seems to me that the only ones on these boards in the grip of fear are the Argus reporters. Everyone else seems to be following the entirely sensible WW2 advice - "Keep Calm and Carry On"
It seems to me that the only ones on these boards in the grip of fear are the Argus reporters. Everyone else seems to be following the entirely sensible WW2 advice - "Keep Calm and Carry On" D.G.
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Thu 30 Apr 09

clare1984 says...

What does the Argus want the Assembly to say...

We know as they said 27 People are being investegated in Wales.

We now know as the Assemmbly Officials have told us 9 so far do not have swine flu, tests awaited on 19 others.

Ok what more do we need to know????

They've told us all 27 are related to travel to the US or Mexico, and here's a bit of info for the Argus how do we not know that the Patients have said they dont want any information released that thus ties officials hands anyway.

D.G is right keep calm carry on and if the situation worsens i'm sure the Assembly, Government and anybody else will tells us what we need to know... blind panic would probably end up far worse than this flu!
What does the Argus want the Assembly to say... We know as they said 27 People are being investegated in Wales. We now know as the Assemmbly Officials have told us 9 so far do not have swine flu, tests awaited on 19 others. Ok what more do we need to know???? They've told us all 27 are related to travel to the US or Mexico, and here's a bit of info for the Argus how do we not know that the Patients have said they dont want any information released that thus ties officials hands anyway. D.G is right keep calm carry on and if the situation worsens i'm sure the Assembly, Government and anybody else will tells us what we need to know... blind panic would probably end up far worse than this flu! clare1984
  • Score: 0

1:01pm Thu 30 Apr 09

stowhill says...

Another fine example of the SWA's utterly senseless rhetoric:

'If our information is incorrect then please tell us and we will not publish a story.'

Simply priceless! As for the content of the editorial...who cares with prose like this to savour! Give me more!!


Another fine example of the SWA's utterly senseless rhetoric: 'If our information is incorrect then please tell us and we will not publish a story.' Simply priceless! As for the content of the editorial...who cares with prose like this to savour! Give me more!! stowhill
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Thu 30 Apr 09

Mervyn James says...

No chance of the Argus being silent I suppose ! Try being positive not negative about everything, it only induces the panic media desires to get column inches and is very irresponsible. Take it from me if the government decided to tell us nothing,there's nil you can do about it, that's the first rule about issues like this, only those who need to know get told anything, so it is no help speculating all the time.
No chance of the Argus being silent I suppose ! Try being positive not negative about everything, it only induces the panic media desires to get column inches and is very irresponsible. Take it from me if the government decided to tell us nothing,there's nil you can do about it, that's the first rule about issues like this, only those who need to know get told anything, so it is no help speculating all the time. Mervyn James
  • Score: 0

4:47pm Thu 30 Apr 09

charles says...

To say that this flu outbreak could make others "appear trivial" reveals absolutely no knowledge of history.
An estimated 20 million people world wide died in the flu epedemic of the winter of 1918/19.
To say that this flu outbreak could make others "appear trivial" reveals absolutely no knowledge of history. An estimated 20 million people world wide died in the flu epedemic of the winter of 1918/19. charles
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Fri 1 May 09

Katie T says...

"WE are sometimes bewildered by the lack of flexibility of officials"

Hmmm...on the other hand, there are the odd one, or two who are eventually easy to bend - but usually for a price, though.
"WE are sometimes bewildered by the lack of flexibility of officials" Hmmm...on the other hand, there are the odd one, or two who are eventually easy to bend - but usually for a price, though. Katie T
  • Score: 0

12:01pm Sun 3 May 09

THE CAMELEON says...

if half newport got the flu esp in bus station ,gilligan's island cardiff rd and parts of pill ,they wouldn't notice because they would either be drunk or tripping or stoned .umm god works in mysterious ways lol
if half newport got the flu esp in bus station ,gilligan's island cardiff rd and parts of pill ,they wouldn't notice because they would either be drunk or tripping or stoned .umm god works in mysterious ways lol THE CAMELEON
  • Score: 0

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