Around 40% of Czech internet users believe in conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey conducted by the STEM agency revealed.
While half the population is convinced that the virus was made in a laboratory, 10% of Czechs believe the real purpose of vaccination is to inject microchips into human bodies and to control the whole society.
At the same time, 6% of internet users have been actively spreading disinformation about the coronavirus via e-mail or social media.
As the STEM agency pointed out, Czechs are prone to believe in conspiracy theories but so far it has not led to boycotts or restrictive measures.
38 percent of respondents have lost confidence in government information. About a fifth said they had stopped trusting public service news.
The greatest trust (around 70 percent), was maintained by information from immunologists, general practitioners, doctors and nurses.
According to STEM, mistrust in official information and misinformation are reflected in how people say they follow basic anti-epidemic measures.
“Society’s misinformation and suspicion about the epidemic is relatively high. So far, this has not led to people boycotting the measures massively, but it is a warning,” said research co-author Nikola Hořejš.
The Czech government has been criticised for not having set up a communication campaign about the COVID-19 pandemic since the start of the outbreak.
39 percent of internet users now adhere to anti-epidemic measures while three percent do not follow them.
The candidate chosen in the selection procedure for the head of communications at the Czech health ministry was supposed to take office on Monday, but decided to withdraw his application.