‘COVID dance challenge’: DOH brings battle vs coronavirus to TikTok

Mara Cepeda
‘COVID dance challenge’: DOH brings battle vs coronavirus to TikTok
The Department of Health is the second government agency in the Philippines to tap the widely popular and Chinese-owned video-sharing app to address the impact of the novel coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) just opened an account on Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok as part of its campaign to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which also originated from China. 

On Thursday, March 5, the DOH’s official Facebook account shared a video of 3 of its personnel dancing to the song “The Weekend” while tips on how to prevent COVID-19 – the disease caused by 2019-nCoV – flashed on the screen. 

The health department’s 6-minute TikTok video advised its viewers to wash their hands, maintain a one-meter distance from their neighbors, avoid touching their face, and follow proper cough etiquette.

The video was an instant hit among Facebook users, garnering 68,000 views and 2,300 shares as of 8:20 pm on Thursday. (READ: PH coronavirus watch: Suspected cases per region, as of March 5, 2020)

The DOH post then asked the public to “join the #covidance challenge” and follow their official TikTok account.

“DOH is officially on Tiktok! Learn protective measures against COVID-19 in this TikTok video! Join the #covidance challenge!” the post read.

The DOH is not alone in tapping the video-sharing app widely popular among teens worldwide to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Tourism has also started encouraging Filipino millennials addicted to TikTok to help address the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.  

But United States lawmakers and intelligence officials already expressed concern over TikTok’s connections with Beijing, arguing the video-sharing app could become another tool exploited by China for espionage activities. 

As of 8:30 pm Thursday, the Philippines has recorded only 3 positive cases of COVID-19, all of whom were Chinese nationals who traveled from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak that has so far killed 2,902 people in that province alone. 

Of the 3 positive cases in the Philippines, one died while the other two already recovered. There are also 669 patients under investigation by the DOH for possible infection. Only 37 of them remain admitted to hospitals, while 629 have already been discharged.  

Worldwide, the death toll due to the coronavirus stood at over 3,200, while over 95,000 people were infected across at least 84 countries. – Rappler.com 

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.