CECC announced the Guidelines on Publication of COVID-19 Patients’ Personal Data
On January 15, 2020, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare designated the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a Category 5 Communicable Disease pursuant to Article 37 of the Communicable Disease Control Act (“CDCA”). Article 10 of the CDCA stipulates that government agencies, medical institutions, medical practitioners and other personnel who become aware of the names, medical records, medical history, etc. of patients and/or suspected patients with communicable diseases due to their business relationship shall keep in confidence such information. Nonetheless, on February 25, 2020, the Legislative Yuan (i.e., the Congress) passed the Act Governing the Prevention, Bailout and Revitalization Packages in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak (“Act”). Article 8 of the Act authorizes the Chief Commander of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), during the period of epidemic prevention and control, to publicize COVID-19 patients’ personal data for the purpose of preventing epidemics from spreading.
In light of the foregoing, on April 1, 2020, the CECC announced the Guidelines on Publication of COVID-19 Patients’ Personal Data (“Guidelines”). According to the Guidelines, unless for the purpose of preventing epidemics from spreading, COVID-19 patients’ names, medical records and medical history shall be kept in confidence. Except for epidemic prevention and control and after having communicated with the relevant parties, the hospitals COVID-19 patients stay in, the place he/she works, occupations, job titles and content, etc. shall be kept in confidence. COVID-19 patients’ gender, age range, the area he/she resides, the categories and numbers of persons with whom he/she had contact, etc. would be publicized to the extent necessary for epidemic prevention and control. What public transportation COVID-19 patients had used and the public places where he/she had been would be publicized in principle after having communicated with the relevant parties, unless such publication is unhelpful to epidemic prevention and control and may cause unnecessary panic.
The Personal Data Protection Practice Group of Lee and Li is closely following up on the relevant issues and developments. If you have any questions or require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact any of the members of the practice group.