In another instance of irresponsible handling of COVID-19 patient data, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation uploaded the names, addresses, age, gender and dates of diagnosis of all COVID-19 patients in the city to its official site and made them publicly available. It also plots each patient’s (both recovered and active) address with name on Google Maps. When MediaNama accessed the site on May 5 at 11 pm, the site had had more than 150,000 views. By May 6 morning, the number had risen to 161,338.
Apart from personal details of each of the active and recovered cases in the city, including days old infants, the website gives graphical representations of day-wise positive/recovered cases, week-, age group-, and gender-wise positive cases. It also tells how many isolated patients have been housed in government hospitals and how many in private hospitals. It also tells how many people are housed in each quarantine facility in the city, and details of the three containment zones (number of houses and people in each zone). We have reached out to the Rajkot Municipal Corporation for comment.
Rajkot has also been pasting stickers outside houses of people who enter the city, to announce to the world that they are under mandatory home quarantine, the city’s municipal commissioner, Udit Agrawal tweeted.
This is not the first time a government has irresponsibly made personal details of COVID-19 patients public. In March, the Karnataka government had published the home addresses of residents who had been quarantined to deter people from stepping outside. This list included all the people who had flown in to India, even if they had not tested positive for the virus. If that wasn’t enough, the state government itself had tweeted about this list (a tweet that it later deleted). A user had mapped out all the addresses on Google Maps.