MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday warned the public against unauthorized disclosure of coronavirus patients' names, with violators facing jail time and a fine of up to P2 million.
The health ministry made the warning after it received reports that a list of COVID-19-positive patients was circulating online.
"We call on the public to refrain from these lists around social media. This is illegal and perpetuates the stigma around COVID-19," the DOH said.
"Our kababayans are already going through enough as it is. Let us not exacerbate their situations... COVID-19 is not a death sentence and fear is more dangerous than the disease."
The DOH reiterated that public health authorities should ensure that the patient's personal information stay private, as stated under Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
A joint memorandum issued by the DOH and the National Privacy Commission also states that only concerned health-care providers, public health authorities, and their authorized personnel shall be allowed access to personal details of COVID-19 cases.
Unauthorized access and illegal disclosure of personal information of COVID-19 patients are penalized under Republic Act 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012, the DOH warned.