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Oct 6, 2020

Dr. Manza is Off the Hook Following Repeal of SI 134

The controversial Statutory Instrument 134 is now off the books, gone. When it was surprisingly made law a few weeks ago, it compelled the Director of Health Services to surrender the names of all COVID-19 patients to the Ministry of National Security.  That uncompromising piece of law had the approval of the DHS’ political boss, Minister of Health Pablo Marin, and was gazetted on September twenty-second. The DHS balked and there was talk of resignation since it went against his professional training.  While the breadth of the amended Quarantine Regulations included the reopening of churches and restaurants to accommodate ten persons, the sticking point was the third provision, that the Director of Health Services must release the names of al COVID-19 positive patients to Minister of National Security Michael Peyrefitte, who is also the Attorney General.  Peyrefitte, as well as Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, went on record to say that the submission of those names did not constitute a breach of doctor/patient confidentiality since it was being done in the interest of public health and national security.  Others in the medical profession were of the firmly held belief that the requirement did in fact contravene professional ethics.  When it went before the National Oversight Committee, the recommendation to Cabinet was to find alternative ways to deal with the spread of the pandemic. The new Statutory Instrument 136 is dated October second and released today; it speaks to a range of protocols going forward including those already in effect.

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