Last year, there were reports of healthcare workers being shunned by commuters on public transport.
The authorities urged the public to treat these workers with dignity and respect, adding that they follow strict hygiene protocol.
Soon, as the number of COVID-19 infections started to dwindle, so did the reports of discrimination against healthcare workers.
This must have been because we realised our mistake and changed for the better, right?
It seems that we’re only considerate towards these workers when there are few infections to worry about.
Some TTSH Healthcare Workers Have Been Shunned By Landlords
Some healthcare workers and staff from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) have been shunned by their landlords lately, according to Ministry of Health (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak.
Prof Mak was speaking at a virtual COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference yesterday (4 May).
Believe it or not, ever since the cluster emerged, some of these healthcare workers have not been allowed into their own homes.
After learning that they worked in TTSH, their landlords told them that they were not welcome at their places of accommodation.
“This is a concern for us because these workers are well and they have committed a lot of time and energy towards looking after patients in TTSH,” Prof Mak said.
“So we [also] endeavour to support them, [by] making sure that they have… accommodation through this difficult time, when they are being called up to do much more than what they would normally be expected to.”
He urged Singaporeans to show their support and appreciation for these workers just as we did last year, when we clapped and cheered for them from our windows.
Is It Rational to Avoid Healthcare Workers?
Now, I know what you’re thinking: since they’re working at a hospital where there’s a large cluster, I’m just being cautious by avoiding them.
But there’s no practical need to do so. Nurses, for example, follow strict hand hygiene guidelines and use protective equipment such as gowns, masks, gloves and eye protection when working.
And if they happen to be in high-risk areas, they don’t even wear their uniforms—they put on personal protective equipment and hospital-laundered scrubs instead.
In addition to frequent cleaning and thorough disinfection, TTSH has placed close contacts of the confirmed cases in the cluster on quarantine and tested them as well.
So, is it really rational to avoid these workers?
No one’s asking us to hug and kiss random healthcare workers on the street—that would be weird and illegal—just don’t treat them like they’re carrying the plague.
After all, these are the people helping patients fight off the coronavirus while risking getting it themselves. The very least we can do is treat them like human beings.
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