Medical organisations across Europe have issued a joint statement condemning attacks on healthcare professionals fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisations say there are alarming reports of violence, discrimination and exclusion that physicians and other healthcare professionals are facing because of fear they will spread the coronavirus.
Healthcare and other key workers in New Zealand, Australia and the UK have all been subjected to deliberate coughing and spitting. In the Philippines, attackers doused a nurse with bleach. In India, a group of medical workers was chased by a stone-throwing mob. There have been several reports of healthcare workers being evicted from their place of residence because of fears that they are vectors. Soldiers have been deployed to a hospital in Mexico after a spate of assaults on healthcare workers.
“European Medical Organisations strongly condemn the stigma that physicians and other healthcare professionals dealing with infected patients are facing on a daily basis, both inside and outside the workplace. This unacceptable behaviour poses a huge risk to the physical and psychological health of physicians and other health professionals,” the statement says.
The organisations are calling on governments to adopt a zero tolerance policy on violence against healthcare workers.