COVID19: Chamber of commerce wants case anonymity

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Τhe Cyprus Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KEVE) on Tuesday expressed its discontent with government policy to publicly name businesses where employees contracted the coronavirus.

In a statement, KEVE argued that announcing the names of companies in which employees were found to have coronavirus “served no purpose and simply punishes and discredits the business involved, adding another burden in difficult times”.

“Everyone, without exception, individuals or companies, can be infected with the virus at any time, without necessarily implying that they did not operate properly,” said the chamber.

It said the Health Ministry should be focussing on the strict observance of hygiene measures by businesses and the public alike.

“Of course, all companies must be systematically monitored and when a coronavirus case is detected, they must strictly follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health, such as closure, disinfection, reopening with other staff, but…punitive disclosure of names is completely unnecessary and we claim it does not serve any specific purpose.”

The Health Ministry has defended its policy in the past, arguing that naming businesses where COVID-19 was found, was not done to punish them but to protect public health.

It issued a decree on April 15, whereby it has to publicly announce cases such as in supermarkets within 24 hours, providing the name and address of the business.

However, the Health Ministry has yet to name the supermarket in Limassol, where a cluster has formed.

Critics argue the government doesn’t do enough to name and shame bars and restaurants that deliberately flout the law on social distancing to make a profit.

In other incidents, it has been the company itself which has publicly declared a COVID-19 case.