The novel coronavirus situation is more alarming now that Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level to orange, and healthcare workers are working round-the-clock at the frontlines to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
However, people are becoming wary of healthcare workers and some even shun them in public due to the suspicions of healthcare workers having close contact with the infectious disease.
Healthcare worker Rebecca Yap voiced out her frustration on Facebook on 12 February, after reading reports of healthcare workers being shunned and ostracized in public.
“A paramedic, nurse, doctor, clinic assistant, receptionist, porter, cleaner, everyone who is working behind the scenes to make this situation better, did not anticipate this,” Ms Yap said.
She added, “We too, as healthcare workers, do not want to be exposed to the virus, potentially infecting ourselves and our loved ones.”
Ms Yap said she and her husband had to postpone their 8-year-old son’s birthday party because of the DORSCON Orange and they were still seeing patients at that time.
“So please don’t throw eggs at us and call us dirty. Don’t cancel that food delivery order just cause it’s to the hospital. Don’t throw us out of the bus and train. We need to eat, live, work, and then go home to our loved ones too,” she added.
She also applauded the people who made little gestures to treat healthcare workers, such as free chicken rice to healthcare workers.
In relation to cases about healthcare workers being shunned and ostracized in public, on 11 February, a healthcare professional Hanna Wong posted on Facebook that a driver canceled her booking because she was going to the hospital.
Another nurse posted on Instagram and shared that she saw a nurse who was wearing a uniform being scolded by other commuters for taking the train.
Her Instagram story was then reposted by Serene Wee on 7 February and criticized the commuters who scolded the nurse.
As more reports surfaced online of healthcare workers being discriminated in public places, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong urged Singaporeans to support healthcare workers instead of shunning them.
“Let us come together to show our support for them, and to support their work, so they continue to take care of our patients and families and our loved ones,” the Minister urged during a press conference on 12 February.
He added, “Sometimes, a kind word or a warm greeting will go a long way to make them feel appreciated and give them a morale boost to continue the fight.”