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Erase Stigma, Virus Is the Problem, Not Any One Person: Dr Fong

We need to erase the stigma around COVID-19––the virus is the problem, not any one person.
22 Apr 2021 17:21
Erase Stigma, Virus Is the Problem, Not Any One Person: Dr Fong
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong presents an update on the COVID-19 situation on Thursday April 22, 2021. Photo: DEPTFO

The privacy of Fijians who have COVID-19 must be protected.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong said they relied on their information to contact trace.

“But there is no benefit to putting that information into the public space.

“We’re talking about children here, some of the most vulnerable members of our society. They are anxious, they are scared, and
the last thing they need is to have their privacy violated, and their information blasted out online.”

His comments come after an email communication from a school head to teachers which contained the name of the 14-year-old student who tested positive was screenshot and distributed widely online.

“The stigmatisation of Fijians living with COVID-19 has very real consequences––when bullies online take advantage of other
people’s suffering, Fijians who should come forward may be scared into hiding their travel history, or hiding their symptoms.

“That culture of stigmatisation can put the entire nation at-risk. So please join me in saying thank you to this family, to the
drivers, and to all those who have come forward as potentially having been exposed to the virus.”

He reiterated: “I’ve said before we need to erase the stigma around COVID-19––the virus is the problem, not any one
person.”

 



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