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Harm Principle in Respect to Covid 19

  • The harm principle makes the individuals accountable for causing harm to other individuals. So to not cause harm, one needs to limit their actions.
  • The risky behavior of an individual in society could put the complete society’s safety at stake. A restricted behavior has become the call of the hour in the global pandemic outbreak of Covid 19.
  • It is considered that in a civilized society, an individual needs to have a ‘No Harm’ approach towards his fellow beings.
Harm Principle in Respect to Covid 19
  • For instance, pollution of private property, creating noise pollution, sedition, etc. is considered wrong for society collectively. It is against basic social ethics and conduct.
  • In this writing, we will cover the Harm principle concerning the covid 19 outbreak by individuals and society in general.
  • The Fundamental Duties mentioned in most of the world’s Constitution focus on an individual’s basic duties in society so that there is no infringement of anyone else’s moral and legal rights.

Harm Principles Followed by Health Care Workers

We all are aware of the duties provided by the health care providers, healthcare administrators, doctors, and nursing staff during this pandemic. It is a very challenging job in this department, especially during such stressful times. There are basic ethics that needs to be followed by Health Care administrators for patients’ safety and care. The basic work ethics followed by health care providers are:-

  1. Autonomy – The right of the patient to retain control of his body.  Health care workers can advise and guide but must not force or coerce upon the patient to make choices as it violates work ethics. The personal values and beliefs of the patient are to be respected and valued.

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  1. Beneficence – The treatment and procedures should be meant for the patients’ benefit. They must maintain and develop a highly skilled and knowledgeable staff so that the patient’s individual needs could be catered to separately. Staff should be experienced and trained in practice in skills, so that patient life is not put at risk.
  2. Non-Maleficence (to not harm) – This is the end goal of practitioners’ decisions. The medical providers must consider their decisions consciously as it could harm a patient’s health. Medical decisions must not harm individuals and society in general.
  3. Justice – There must be fairness and ‘just’ in decisions in the form of equal distribution of resources. And treatment to the medical practitioners to uphold applicable laws and legislation.

A case study showing work ethics of health care providers 

A patient who has an ovarian cyst if that remains untreated may require surgery not to affect the rest of the organs. It can cause kidney failure in some cases if the cyst is allowed to grow or remains untreated. The patient is scared of needles and does not want surgery. In this scenario, the doctor and the other staff cannot force her to make choices, even if it is in her interest. Forcing a patient to make choices about their bodies is against a doctor’s and healthcare workers’ work ethics. To treat her, the doctor must try out a different method to protect her kidneys and do the needful for further medication or treatment.

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The ethical duty of health care providers during the Covid 19 outbreak 

The degree of harm to health care providers includes serious morbidity and deaths. The work ethics and obligations of health providers are:-

  • Health care providers can provide greater care than the general public and have a greater obligation to care.
  • They have chosen their profession freely, so now they are abided by their work culture’s rules and regulations.
  • They are available at the time of the emergency of the Covid 19 pandemic.

The ‘No Harm Principle ‘ is to be followed by individual health care providers. 

  1. The ethical duty to care and understand is the first duty that remains forever, even when there is no exposure to life-threatening risk or harm.
  2. Health care providers who are providing services to the high-risk category of covid 19 must take precautionary measures. If no strategy is available to mitigate harm effectively, then the reasonable step is not to provide that particular act or care as it would put the rest of the other non-covered patients also into danger.
  3. There should be no force, harm, or coercive action towards the patient to make choices or make decisions regarding their health even if those choices are meant to be in his or her interest.
  4. The health care providers face harm, and in the absence of a PPE kit, they must consider their usual duty to provide care. It would be reasonable to see any service that includes risk beyond this point as voluntary.

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‘No Harm Principle ‘ to be followed by individuals against community spread

  1. For public safety, the right to protect himself from harm or threat social distancing is a must in public spaces, especially.
  2. Wearing of masks ( when coughing and sneezing) to be worn outside the house to prevent community spread.
  3. Washing of hands, using sanitizers, and maintaining hygiene to prevent viruses from affecting themselves self and society.
  4. Following the implemented governmental rules and regulations for pandemics so that risk of spread could be mitigated.
  5. Creating public awareness through social media, websites, and different online portals regarding the factual information of the spread of covid.
  6. Transparency through these online sites must be maintained. So that people could ask any relevant questions about the same. There could be an individual contribution to information.


No harm principle to be followed by individuals. Different communities, governmental organizations, health care administrators, doctors, hospitals, and institutions. When collectively, people work together and cooperate for community health, that is when relatively, a small section of society gets affected.

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