Kaizer Chiefs' decision to withhold the names of their two players who were confirmed to have tested positive earlier this week has now been explained.
Chiefs on Tuesday confirmed that two players tested positive following the first round of Covid-19 testing ahead of the PSL's proposed return to training, which was on Wednesday approved by government.
The announcement drew plenty of criticism and debate on social media as to why they refused to name the infected players, after Orlando Pirates and Bloemfontein Celtic had both identified Ben Motshwari and Given Mashikinya as their respective positive cases.
However, SAFA chief medical officer and compliance officer of the Joint Liaison Committee's return-to-play protocol Dr Thulani Ngwenya has now given insight as to what the ethical practices are around this.
"Ethically, I have a responsibility as a doctor that is testing, to have this patient-doctor confidentiality. It's an ethical thing, I cannot go beyond that," Dr Ngwenya told members of the SA Football Journalists' Association.
"However, I can ask the patient's permission to give me written consent to say, 'I allow you to go out publicly and say yes, I have that [Covid-19].'
"I don't know the policies and practices of different teams, but I want to assume that the doctors – because they are the ones that test – that have given the information publicly got consent from the said players. So it is still not wrong to say, 'Two of our players tested positive.'
"Because this is a matter of public health, the government regulations are not to protect the person infected but to protect you from infecting the next person not infected.
"The regulations do not specifically talk of the names attached to the person that is infected, because this is a medico-legal issue. So from a medical perspective, I cannot go out there and talk about your condition without getting consent from you."
The PSL currently has seven confirmed active cases of Covid-19, with GladAfrica Championship sides TS Galaxy and Moroka Swallows also having withheld the names of the players that have tested positive.
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