DOH urges public not to discriminate against COVID-19 positive patients

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 05 2020 07:51 PM | Updated as of Apr 06 2020 12:03 AM

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday called on the public not to discriminate against patients who tested positive for the COVID-19 as this may compromise the country's efforts in fighting the disease.

"Nalulungkot po kami kapag nakakarinig ng mga kwento ng ating mga positive cases, kasama na rin ang ating exposed healthcare workers, na nakakaranas ng diskriminasyon at stigma," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Sunday.

"Gusto ko lamang pong sabihin sa lahat, pakiusap, huwag mamahiya ng mga taong may COVID-19,” she also said.

According to Vergeire, the stigma against patients may encourage other COVID-19 positive people to hide their status. This, in turn, may compromise the country's efforts towards case isolation and treatment.

The national government's task force against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic earlier urged local government units to pass a measure that would penalize discrimination against frontliners, migrant workers and confirmed or suspected coronavirus patients.

In a virtual press briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said they have received reports that health workers, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and coronavirus patients were being discriminated against, harassed and attacked.

Acts of discrimination, not limited to coercion, libel, slander, physical injuries and the dishonor of contractual obligations such as contracts of lease or employment, shall be dealt with criminally and administratively, Nograles warned.