Thiruvananthapuram: In a government order issued on Sunday, the Kerala Health Department directed the district level medical officers and health workers to take prior permission from the department to speak to media publicly.
As per reports, the order applies not just to sharing COVID-19 information, but all Health Department related matters.
"Officers are not allowed to share information without prior permission from the department under any circumstances. In case of an emergency where it is necessary to provide information, they need to verify the facts and get prior sanction from the department," the notice said.
The order noted that the media has been reporting news on the functioning of the Health Department and various other related matters but many reports are not reaching the public accurately.
It remarked that such fictitious reporting will create misunderstanding among the public, by creating unnecessary fear over the disease spread and also tamper with the image of the department.
The health department order comes at a time when the changing pandemic situation -- with the emergence of Omicron variant -- has become a major concern for the people.
Meanwhile, the doctors' organisations have reacted cautiously to the circular. "It is a circular issued at times to remind officers of the service rules. It is true that some reports are not shared to avoid panic situations. However, we will look into the circular if it is serving other than the stated intent," Indian Express quoted Kerala Government Medical Officers' Association president Dr G S Vijayakrishnan as saying.