Government will name Covid-19 patients who fail to toe the line

24 March 2020 - 20:24 By ERNEST MABUZA
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday that the government will be forced to name any person who has contracted the disease if they refuse to cooperate by listing their contacts.
Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday that the government will be forced to name any person who has contracted the disease if they refuse to cooperate by listing their contacts.
Image: Supplied

In order to minimise the spread of Covid-19, the government will be forced to name a person who has contracted the disease in order to reach others who have been in contact with that person.

Timelapse video shot at Melbourne's Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity shows a sample of the coronavirus successfully growing in the laboratory. It will provide expert international laboratories with crucial information to help combat the virus. The virus has so far killed at least 117 people and infected over 7000 people worldwide.

Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said for the government to minimise the spread, it must be able to identify the contacts of all people who have tested positive for Covid-19

"This therefore means that once you are confirmed as a case, we will contact you and request you to avail a full list of people you have come into contact within two days from the onset of symptoms," he said.

"Simply put, if you started experiencing symptoms on a Wednesday, you must disclose people you came into contact with from that Monday up to the date you are informed about your positive results."

Mkhize said he was aware there was a strong debate about whether the government can disclose another patient's information to his or her contact.

"Whist we know that there is an ethical obligation not to disclose patient information, with this outbreak we will exercise regulation 18, which states that information concerning a case, contact or a carrier of the virus may be disclosed for the purpose of public health surveillance, investigation and interventions," he said.

The minister said this meant that if a confirmed case refuses to provide the department with information, the department will go to the extent of making a public announcement that anyone that has come into contact with that specific person must present themselves to the public.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on March 23 2020 that the country will be going into lockdown for 21 days. The lockdown is expected to start on midnight March 26 2020 and end on 16 April 2020.


X