The NSW Health Minister has said that a newspaper’s decision to name the man who visited numerous barbecue shops in Sydney while infected with Covid-19 was “gruesome” and would undermine public health.
Brad Hazzard said the Australian Financial Review story identifying a patient “sucks” because it may deter the public from fully cooperating with contact markers in the future and the man had not consented to his identity being revealed.
“No journalist should think that it is okay to name a patient, someone who is working with [the Department of] Cheers, ”Hazzard said.
“It’s the quickest way to destroy the trust of all of us if we think that some journalist somewhere thinks it’s okay to name a patient who is working with us to make sure the community stays safe. It sucks, actually. “
Last week, the state announced two locally acquired cases, a man in his 50s from Woollahra, nicknamed Patient X, and his wife, also 50, but the couple was not named as is the usual practice.
AFR Editor-in-Chief Michael Stutchbury has defended his decision to identify the patient as newsworthy. “[The executive] he is a prominent businessman involved in a number of key business transactions and it was newsworthy and in the public interest to explain his movements given the ongoing reports on the visits, ”a Stutchbury spokesperson told Guardian Australia.
“We get closer [the company] and they were aware of the story and provided feedback. We acknowledge and acknowledge the concerns of the government and we do not make this decision lightly. “
NSW Health Director Dr. Kerry Chant said the department assured the man, who was appointed against his will, that the information did not come from officials.
“I am incredibly disappointed,” said Chant. “I stood up [at the press conference] every day and I have to say that I really respect the way that the media has not pressured me when I do not give the exact age or divulge something.
“Ultimately, we trust people to share the most step-by-step descriptions.”
Chant said the man had received multiple calls a day from the department and provided various details, including the walking route and timestamps on his credit card. “It’s not a good public health outcome when that happens,” Chant said.
Last week, the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said the man had been “very active in the interior of the East” and had been “very good” at recording his details at the places he visited, including a movie theater in Bondi Junction and various stores. barbecue.
On Monday, in its Street Talk markets column, the financial daily Nine Entertainment revealed the man’s name, title and employer.
The AFR story was later copied by the Daily Mail and news.com.au, which published multiple photographs that further identified the couple.
The newspaper published a comment from the man’s employer, saying it will not comment on an employee’s medical condition.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism