The federal government has warned against stigmatizing persons who tested positive for COVID-19, saying this would drive them and others underground and could swell the number of affected persons.
The national coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, gave the charge in Abuja on Monday at the 10th joint national briefing of the committee.
“Repeated breaches of confidentiality, whether it is by putting out the names of those that are positive in the public sphere or providing a detailed description of these persons to enable them to be identified publicly does not help the pandemic at all, if anything, it drives people underground and makes it difficult for us to be able to test people.
“It creates fear in society, it creates stigma and overall, it destroys what we are trying to do, which is trying to get on top of the pandemic. I must remind all of us that this is a virus that does not discriminate: it could be your neighbour, tomorrow it may be you. It does not discriminate between a rich man and a poor man. If we don’t want to be treated unkindly, we should not treat others same way.
“So, my plea to all of us, including our leaders, is to respect the privacy of those that have been diagnosed with this disease. If there’s any need to break the privacy for public health purposes, it will be done by the recognized authorities,” Aliyu said.