Representational image
Representational image
BL Soni

The Centre may have advocated keeping the names and exact addresses of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus private, but the Rajkot government does not have any such qualms.

If one logs onto the Rajkot Municipal Corporation's official website, it is not difficult to find the COVID-19 Dashboard that provides the personal details of all of the 63 patients that have so far been recorded by the state. This is given in two tables -- one for those who continue to remain positive for the virus, and another detailing who have recovered.

For each of the individuals mentioned on the website, details such as name, address, gender, age and date of diagnosis have been mentioned.

And in case you're not familiar with the addresses mentioned, there is also a webpage on the official site that maps out the patient's location. The Google map on this page bears pins with the names of the people and pinpoints their location with alarming clarity.

Screengrab from RMC website
Screengrab from RMC website

The issue was also pointed out by the French Android applications developer and cyber security expert who goes by the name Elliot Alderson on Twitter. He had recently tackled the Aarogya Setu app, flagging privacy issues with the coronavirus tracking app.

This problem however is not limited to Rajkot. Another city in Gujarat, Ahmedabad too had mapped out the details of COVID-19 positive patients. Alderson had tweeted about the same, but later posted an update stating that it had been removed.

The Rajkot website however remains unaltered, and is still accessible.

While many have spoken about the social stigma that is being attached to coronavirus patients, including Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy in the recent interaction between Prime Minister Modi and all the Chief Ministers, Rajkot seems to be ignoring this aspect of the issue.

As Reddy had put it, while calling for an end to the stigma, "families with positive cases are facing social ostracisation".

The Gujarat government appears to believe that naming the patients would help ensure the safely of those they had come in contact with. This, they had said towards the end of March, would ensure that "their neighbours, business associates, or those who came in contact with them get themselves checked".

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