A number of physicians, health care professionals and barangay officials back the move of the government for a mandatory public disclosure of Covid-19 patients.
Dr. Ricardo Audan, chief of Clinics and Health Emergency Management Bureau (HEMB) of the Southern
Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) said in a press interview Sunday that the order will greatly enhance and government’s efforts of tracing the people who might have close contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexi Nograles and spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Disease said on a televised press conference Sunday that the task force has decided to adopt the mandatory public disclosure of personal information of confirmed Covid-19 patients to boost government’s contact tracing efforts. Officials from the Department of Health (DOH) and other experts on infectious diseases admit that contact tracing is one of the biggest challenges to combat a widespread health crisis like Covid-19 given the number of people involved.
Nograles further said “The DOH and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) are directed into a data-sharing agreement in accordance with R.A. 10173, otherwise known as the Data Privacy Act of 2012.” He admitted that disclosure of patient’s personal information during emergencies is a sensitive issue because it may violate the said national law.
On Holy Wednesday, the City Council of Davao passed an ordinance for the “Mandatory Submission of a Health and Other Emergencies Contact Tracing Form for All Persons Entering Davao City by Land, Air or Sea.” The said ordinance makes it mandatory for all returning residents, visitors, and travelers who will enter the city by any means of transportation to fill up and sign a Contact Tracing Form (CTF) before they are allowed entry to the city.
Dr. Audan further said it is unfortunate that frontliners who are dealing with the pandemic daily will find themselves infected and even dying due to the dishonesty and inaccurate information given by some patients. “Though I believe in the data privacy, let us weigh things that would be beneficial in the interest of public safety,” he continued. As of April 11, Davao City has 74 confirmed Covid-19 patients, 41 recoveries and 14 deaths.
Meanwhile Kagawad Richard Jim Navales of Barangay Mandug, Davao City who heads a team of barangay police and barangay health workers in their effort to control the spread of Covid-19 told Sandigan News that his team strong supports the decision of the IATF as well as the city ordinance requiring travelers to sign a tracing form when they enter the city. “Tama ang ginawa ng gobyerno. Mas mahirap kasi sugpuin ang sakit na Covid-19 kung hindi natin alam kung sino ang nagdala ng sakit at sino yong na-expose niya ng sakit,” Navales said.