THE INTEGRATED Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and other medical organizations want coronavirus patients to waive the confidentiality of their medical condition.

In a joint statement, IBP, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and Philippine College of Surgeons (PCS) said this would allow people who have had close contact with them to seek treatment.

They also urged the government to provide health institutions and law enforcers the medical data of patients so these can conduct contact tracing to avoid the spread of infection.

“The present pandemic requires proactive and decisive steps that must be based on facts, science and the law, not on politics, posturing or partiality,” according to the statement.

The groups said medical data confidentiality is “not absolute” and may be relaxed for public health safety.

“Being diagnosed as coronavirus disease 2019-positive is not a sin, a crime or a stigma,” the groups said. “But it is inequitable and counter-productive for COVID-19 patients or persons under investigation to conceal their true condition.”

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra agrees. “This will enable other people they have been in close contact with to take the necessary precautions or remedial measures to protect themselves, without having to further burden the Department of Health with the tedious task of contact tracing,” he said in a mobile-phone message. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas