Contact tracing

Gwen eyes to reveal names of COVID-19 patients in Cebu

By: Rosalie Abatayo April 14,2020 - 11:44 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia is eyeing the release of the names of patients infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the latest on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

This developed following the announcement of the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) that public disclosure of COVID-19 patients’ personal information will now be required for contact tracing purposes.

“Para po matulungan ang contact-tracing efforts ng ating pamahalaan, mandatory o required na po ang paglalahad ng personal na impormasyon pagdating sa ating mga COVID-19 cases,”  Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles was quoted in an Inquirer.net report.

(In order to aid the contact-tracing efforts of the government, it is mandatory or required to give personal information when it comes to our COVID-19 cases.)

READ: COVID-19 patients now required to disclose personal information — IATF

Garcia said she is just awaiting the guidelines in the disclosure of the identities of the patients from the Department of Health.

As of April 13, Cebu province and the highly urbanized cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue have a total of 33 cases of COVID-19.

Garcia said the IATF’s decision will be of help in the contact tracing efforts.

“Kung mag-contact tracing unya siya ra ang pangutan-on, he cannot possibly remember tanan niya naga na-come in contact with, pero katong uban mahinumdom gyud niya,”

(If we conduct the contact tracing and we only ask the patient, he cannot possibly remember all he came in contact with, but the others will remember him.)

“I will be asking the DOH for the appropriate guidelines gikan sa atong RD kay aron makasugod na ta diri nga ma-reveal gyud ang mga pangalan,” Garcia said.

(I will be asking the DOH for the appropriate guidelines from our regional director so that we can start revealing the names here.)

The governor added that revealing the names of the COVID-19 patients will also serve as a protection for others.

When the first case in Cebu was reported in Mandaue City last March 18, Garcia has already suggested to bare the name of the patient to aid the contact tracing effort.

“I was very happy when I read about that because… I guess I was the very first to suggest that it should be out into the open because kinahanglan mahibawo dayon ang kadtong mga nakaduol aning tawhana,” she said. (we need to know who came close to this person.)

Prior to the IATF’s move to require the public disclosure of the identity of the COVID-19 patients, Nograles has urged health facilities to ask the permission of the patients to disclose their names.

Under the Data Privacy Act, a person’s health status or condition is supposedly confidential and must not be publicize without the concerned individual’s permission.

Read: Lawyer nabbed for spreading unverified info about COVID-19

Read: Police files charges against lawyer, Cebu City councilor for posting unverified COVID-19 info

Earlier this month, a lawyer in Cebu has been charged for violation of the Data Privacy Act for posting online the names and addresses of persons supposedly infected with the coronavirus disease.

The police also filed charges against Cebu City Councilor Niña Mabatid for posting about patients who allegedly died due to Covid-19 which was still not verified by the DOH. /bmjo

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