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It's About People 2022: Embracing Digital Transformation: For a Sustainable and Ethical Future

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Ethical Issues During Covid-19 Pandemics

Mojca Ramšak
University of Ljubljana
Slovenia

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Slovenia in March 2020, medical and social ethics were put to the test. They are discussed in the Slovenian context, both diachronically and synchronously. In medicine, the main focuses of the discussions were as follows: the pandemic’s impact on distributive justice in the delivery of health services and care in general; clinical ethics, in particular patient autonomy and informed consent; health professionals’ lack of protective equipment and their obligation to risk their health and well-being for the sake of community health; the duty of health professionals in communicating with the general public and clarifying ethical standards of behaviour in order to protect themselves and the community; explanations of why masks and hygiene are important, and why immunizations are required; and information about the obligation of healthcare professionals not to stigmatize diseased colleagues. Social issues, however, referred to: creating a sense of moral responsibility for one’s own and others’ hygiene; political accountability for controlling COVID-19 disease in a timely manner and allocating funding for the acquisition of protective equipment; justification of measures restricting freedom of movement; increased police and army powers, as well as the indefinite duration of several executive ordinances; temporary limitation of personal liberty for the sake of community health; the impact of the social and economic consequences of quarantine; spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories; coping with shortened death ceremonies due to increasing mortality; stigmatization of the infected and the sick, followed by stigmatization of the unvaccinated people; the consequences of state-run tracking programs for the sick and infected. There were also legal cautions about the hazards of invasion of privacy, confidentiality, and personal data protection when using applications for more effective physical distance when it came to information technology.

 

 


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