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Fight the virus, not the infected person

Updated : 2021-09-28

By ( chinadaily.com.cn )

A person who contracted the novel coronavirus in Harbin is facing harassment on social networking sites after the authorities made her name and address public to help those who might have come in contact with her to get tested.
A number of cases have emerged in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, after a fresh outbreak was reported there on Sept 20. Ever since the local authorities named the woman who tested positive after returning to Harbin from another place, some people have been blaming her for exposing others to the virus.
How many more times does one need to reiterate that the enemy is the virus, not any infected person? The woman has every right to go wherever she wants, so long as she adheres to social distancing and quarantine norms. Those targeting her are undermining the fight against the pandemic.
While the authorities have a broad idea of an individual's movements, there are finer details that the individual alone can reveal, in good faith, to strengthen the fight against the virus.
Such details are made public to make up for any oversight and enable everyone who might have come in contact with the infected person to get tested.
However, the ordeal that those giving details are subjected to might deter others from being more forthcoming with details when they test positive. Some might avoid reporting to medical authorities even after exhibiting COVID-19 infection symptoms.
However, the authorities, too, must ensure that not every detail of an infected person is made public. Maybe the personal details, such as the Harbin woman's name and address, that in no way aid the fight against the virus, should not have been made public. The authorities in Harbin could learn from Shanghai, where only the names of districts reporting infection cases are made public and not the names of infected people. That is the right way.