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Identity, itinerary of COVID-19 patients to be kept private: Ministry of Health

Identity, itinerary of COVID-19 patients to be kept private: Ministry of Health

Tuesday, May 25, 2021, 13:45 GMT+7
Identity, itinerary of COVID-19 patients to be kept private: Ministry of Health
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son visits the treatment ward for critical COVID-19 cases in Bac Giang Province, Vietnam, May 24, 2021. Photo: Ministry of Health

In a recent statement, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health requires hospitals and health facilities at all levels to stop publicizing personal information and travel itineraries of COVID-19 infection cases.

Approved by Nguyen Dinh Anh, head of communications at the Ministry of Health, the official statement addresses the dissemination of coronavirus-related information sharing at hospital and healthcare facilities. 

The ministry demanded that the identity, travel itinerary, and contact history of coronavirus-positive cases be kept private.

As an alternative, the public will receive updates about epidemiologically high-risk locations that were visited by COVID-19 patients so that others who also visited them can make informed choices to protect themselves and the community. 

The document also requires clinics of all levels to provide comprehensive updates for the press, plus establishing clear communication channels on COVID-19 inoculation.

Since the pathogen emerged in Vietnam in early 2020, identification details, including names, phone numbers and addresses, plus the travel history of infected people were disclosed to the public on the basis of public health interest. 

This proved a nuisance for the people involved, as several of them reportedly received public admonishments and even threats. 

A patient’s right to privacy of personal information has already been stipulated in the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment, the Ministry of Health pointed out. 

Discussing the vaccination progress, the ministry stated that it is receiving up-to-date statistics on the number of jabs administered, but not the number of post-vaccination reactions. 

The Southeast Asian country has administered over one million COVID-19 vaccine shots since it rolled out mass inoculation on March 8.

Vietnam has grappled with the pathogen’s re-emergence since April 27, with 2,406 community transmissions having been reported in 30 out of 63 provinces and cities.

Bac Giang has recorded 1,069 cases in this round, followed by Bac Ninh with 507 patients, Hanoi with 308, Da Nang with 152, and Vinh Phuc Province with 89.

Only seven cases have been confirmed in Ho Chi Minh City in this onslaught.

Vietnam has detected 5,461 cumulative cases, including 3,975 domestic infections, since the virus first emerged in the country on January 23, 2020, according to Ministry of Health statistics.

Forty-four patients have died, most having suffered critical pre-existing health problems.

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