Without giving specifics, Health Minister Kim Wilson spoke out against what she termed “unacceptable, highly inappropriate and unfair” treatment of the island’s healthcare workers by members of the public.
Speaking at the latest COVID briefing on Wednesday (Oct 20), the Minister said: “I want to raise before I end is the occurrence of members of the public threatening and intimidating many of our healthcare workers.
“In some instances, they are verbally abused and mistreated – this is unacceptable and highly inappropriate and unfair to those hard-working people who tirelessly fight this pandemic,” she said.
“They are protecting the health and welfare of our community.”
The Minister also cited a recent New York Times article that said “public health agencies (in the US) have seen a staggering exodus of exhausted and demoralised staff, in part because of abuse and threats”.
The article also stated that “local health officials described increasingly poisonous encounters with the public, where people in the community yell at you, threaten you or lie directly to you”.
“This unfortunate behaviour is also happening in our community,” said Minister Wilson.
“Not as widespread as in other countries, but nonetheless, our healthcare workers, call-centre workers, contact tracers and many others are being harassed.
“Bermuda, we must do better,” she said.
“Public health workers and public health measures are not the problems; the virus is the problem.
“This pandemic is brutal on everyone, especially healthcare workers working so hard to protect us and caring for those suffering from COVID. Let’s show them the compassion that they all deserve it.
“Please remember, we must all do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.”
The Minister concluded: “Continue to follow public health guidelines, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance and download the WeHealth Bermuda app.”