WASHINGTON, April 16. /TASS/. The defense ministers of the NATO member countries have noted the importance of countering disinformation amid the coronavirus pandemic, the US Department of Defense said in a statement released on Wednesday.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper took part in the virtual meeting of the NATO defense ministers.
"Allied ministers focused on maintaining a strong NATO deterrence and defense posture to preserve Alliance security during our collective battle against COVID-19," the statement said.
"Allies reaffirmed their commitment to readiness and to continue ongoing operations. They emphasized the importance of countering disinformation from both state and non-state actors who are using the pandemic to spread false and harmful narratives," the statement added.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 2,000,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 126,800 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 485,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.