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Nations differ when it comes to transparency around cases


Connolly Station in Dublin

Connolly Station in Dublin

Connolly Station in Dublin

Different approaches are being taken across the globe when it comes to transparency and identified cases of the new coronavirus.

Ethical questions over patient confidentiality and the public interest have been weighed differently in different jurisdictions.

The HSE has taken the approach of releasing broad details of identified cases.

When a woman with the virus last week travelled to Dublin from Italy and then to Belfast by train from Connolly Station, none of the journey details, such as the flight number and train time, was released.

When a case was identified in the Republic, it was reported only as a male in the east.

Public Health England has issued specific guidelines for cases that are discovered in an educational setting.

"In most cases, closure of the childcare or education setting will be unnecessary but this will be a local decision based on various factors such as establishment size and pupil mixing," according to its website.

However, many UK schools have been forthcoming with public statements about identified cases.


In Singapore, a website has been established that shares details like the age, sex and occupation of those undergoing positive tests. It details where they had travelled and when they got medical help.

Authorities in Italy, where there has been an explosion of cases, have been criticised for their initial handling of the virus and not following protocol.

Its civil protection agency named 'Patient 1' as Mattia, a 38-year-old man, and said his pregnant wife also tested positive for the virus and was treated in the Sacco Hospital in Milan.

In the US, the administration's reaction has raised questions about whether enough information has been shared with the public.

"I have grave concerns about the lack of transparency and unwillingness to allow public health experts to speak freely about what is happening," Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat representative for Connecticut said.

Canadian authorities have also been criticised but information has been issued there.

Yesterday a student at an identified school, affiliated with the Toronto District Catholic School Board, was confirmed as having the virus.