Australia

SBS launches online portal to provide in-language coronavirus information

SBS’s COVID-19 portal allows people to easily access SBS’s news and information across 63 languages. Source: SBS

A new online portal provides information on COVID-19 in 63 languages.

SBS has launched a multilingual online portal to provide information on the COVID-19 outbreak for Australia's diverse communities. 

The portal will provide the latest news on the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia, as well as features explaining government policy and health advice in 63 languages. 

SBS's director of audio and language content, Mandi Wicks, said the initiative has been prompted by the demand from Australia's diverse communities for information in their own language. 

"There is nothing more important right now than to give people timely and accurate information in their language," Ms Wicks said.

"There is so much that people need right now and it is changing all the time. So we need to find a way to keep it simple, to keep it all in one place, so people have a one-stop shop to find the latest information in their language."

SBS Radio is working with health experts to identify which communities are most in need, and the most pressing messages to be communicated to the nearly five million Australians who speak a language other than English at home.

The move follows a significant audience growth for SBS's language services.  

"We're absolutely seeing that the number of people engaging on radio, online, on mobile is increasing substantially," Ms Wicks said.

Compared to just over a month ago, daily visitors to SBS Radio language websites have increased 70 per cent, and installations of the SBS Radio app have more than doubled.

The SBS Mandarin service has experienced an 89 per cent increase in daily visitors to its website, and the SBS Korean service is up 209 per cent compared to its daily average in a sign that Australians are coming to SBS for news relevant for their communities. 

The fast spread of misinformation has been something SBS Radio broadcasters have had to grapple with, as they engage with listeners via talkback radio. 

"So radio is important, but so is online: having news and information in one place when there is so much misinformation is really important.

"So if somebody finds an article on social media, for example, they will click through now and find in one place more information that will dispel some of the misinformation that they might have had before."

Citizens across the world have had to make drastic shifts in their behaviour as governments step up social distancing measures to reduce the spread of the virus, for which there is currently no vaccine.

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people. Indoors, there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch