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âAvoid stigma vs COVID-19 patients, close contactsâ
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia issued the reminder following a report in Ozamiz City that at least 100 houses were marked with caution tapes by local health officials because of COVID-19 infections in the households.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

‘Avoid stigma vs COVID-19 patients, close contacts’

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) reminded local officials yesterday to avoid policies that may instill stigma against those who test positive for COVID-19.

CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia issued the reminder following a report in Ozamiz City that at least 100 houses were marked with caution tapes by local health officials because of COVID-19 infections in the households.

Some houses were marked because their residents were close contacts of those who tested positive for COVID.

“Public health policies on containing the spread of coronavirus in any locality in the Philippines must never compromise the human rights of individuals,” De Guia said.

“Overt labeling of individuals or groups of people affected by the disease exposes them to possible discriminatory treatment and other negative associations,” she added.

While the commission recognized the good intention of the policy, De Guia urged local officials to be mindful of the social stigmatization that may result from such practice.

“Instead of instilling stigma and fear around the communicable disease, what works best is building trust in reliable health services, showing compassion and providing humanitarian assistance to those affected and adopting practical measures to keep themselves and loved ones safe,” she said.

“Open, honest and effective communication of concrete steps in combating the pandemic is a crucial step in creating a safe environment to dialogue about the COVID-19 situation and to enlist the cooperation of people to actively report cases while contributing to the containment of the virus,” she added.

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