Redi Tlhabi slams tweep for comparing the privacy rights of HIV & Covid-19 victims

This comes after Gauteng health officials had to obtain a court order to compel a family to be quarantined

18 March 2020 - 14:00
By Chrizelda Kekana
Redi Tlhabi had a heated exchange on Twitter about Covid-19 patients who refused to be quarantined.
Image: Madelene Cronjé Redi Tlhabi had a heated exchange on Twitter about Covid-19 patients who refused to be quarantined.

Former broadcaster Redi Tlhabi came out strongly to disagree with a social media user who insisted that a couple who refused to be quarantined until a court forced them to shouldn't have been reported on by the media or had their names published.

The debate started after TimesLIVE reported that a family of three's refusal to be quarantined resulted in the Gauteng health department turning to the courts to intervene on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Kwara Kenana said the mother and daughter tested positive on Monday but the husband refused to be tested and left hospital without swabs being taken. They also refused to be quarantined.

Morons! Who the hell are these people!!!???? I trust that a great journalist is on their tail. From a journalism point of view, reporting on them is in the national interest. You can easily justify naming them on that basis so that the public knows that they must be avoided?” Redi tweeted.

However, the tweep, who goes by Twitter handle @alexcomninos, felt publicising their names would be equal to “stigmatising” or “criminalising” them for having the virus. He said if HIV victims were not named neither should those with Covid-19.

That's when Redi unleashed some education on him.

"(You are) comparing the incomparable. The difference is: 1) they refused to protect others, by escaping from the hospital, thereby posing a danger to others. 2) HIV is not transmitted by proximity. 3) Naming them is not to cause panic but to secure the rights of those who had contact with them.”

For Redi, the couple's refusal to be quarantined took the matter out of the realm of “privacy” and made it a “public issue”.

“Lastly, they are not “stigmatised for having a virus!!!! They're named for escaping from a health-care facility and endangering other lives. It's fascinating how this crucial fact is irrelevant in your analysis,” she said.

The pair went back and forth for hours until Redi, after explaining why Covid-19 patients could be named, concluded that it was perhaps better for the media not to name them for the sake of the minor involved.

Read the full thread below: