Inquiry finds virus tracking hampered by privacy laws

Changes to Victorian laws covering the privacy of medical information should be considered after authorities struggled to stamp out an coronavirus infection outbreak at the Cedar Meats abbatoir due to confidentiality concerns.

The recommendation that changes be considered was contained in a Victorian parliamentary inquiry's interim report released on Tuesday afternoon.

Cedar Meats meat processing plant in Brooklyn, in Melbourne’s west.Credit:Jason South

The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee's majority report makes 23 recommendations including the consideration of improvements to communications, warnings, contact tracing and data provision.

"The committee's majority report finds that the Health Records Act's prohibition on disclosing health information about an individual without their specific authorisation "limited the department's ability to notify staff of the potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus," it says.

Opposition MPs issued a minority report blasting the main report as politically biased.

Our reporters are working through the report now and we will bring you more shortly.

The report can be located here.

More to come.

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